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UK - Young campaigners G7 beach protest

CAFOD campaigners at the 2021 G7 summit in Cornwall held world leaders to account and raised their voices for global justice and positive change.

Campaigning with CAFOD is powerful because we aim to tackle the root causes of poverty, injustice and climate change, not just their symptoms.

Thanks to the tens of thousands of you who’ve taken part in our campaigns over the years, we’ve witnessed some historic breakthroughs.

1. World Bank listens to calls to Fix the Food System

CAFOD’s Fix the Food System campaign, launched in 2022, aims to build a global food system that ensures everyone in the world can access the food they need to thrive, wherever in the world they live. CAFOD has specifically been campaigning to demand the World Bank ends their harmful policies that limit small holder farmers access to seeds.

In 2023, 70,000 Catholics stood in solidarity with a farmer called Salina in Bangladesh, calling for small-scale farmers to have their right to swap and share seeds protected. Following our campaign, the world bank has begun to listen! In our meetings with World Bank officials, they said that our policy document - Sowing the Seeds of Poverty - and direct actions had given rise to the most internal conversation about these policies. We are proud to say that this remains an ongoing conversation.

World Bank 80th birthday

Send a birthday message to the World Bank

The World Bank is 80 this year. But with 2.4 billion people having no regular access to food, let’s share one single birthday wish.

2. Loss and damage fund 

When world leaders met in 2022 for their annual climate talks – known as the COP, or Conference of Parties - CAFOD supporters were ready to demand that governments most responsible for the climate emergency commit to adequate financial support for nations in the global south suffering the most from climate change.

This campaigning helped lead to a breakthrough agreement to set up a ‘loss and damage fund’ to provide financial assistance to those low-income countries feeling the brunt of the climate crisis, but details of how the fund would operate were left to be decided. In 2023 at COP28 CAFOD supporters built on their existing calls for the detail of the fund to be sufficient to respond to the needs of the global south. Sadly the USD 700 million pledged covers less than the 0.2 percent needed. We will continue to call for sufficient funding arrangements for the new Loss and Damage Fund.

3. Ending government support for fossil fuels overseas

At the end of 2020, the UK government announced that it would end its support for fossi l fuels overseas. This was a significant step forward, as greenhouse gas emissions – which are released from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas – are warming the earth and causing the climate emergency.

This was the result of years of work with thousands of CAFOD volunteers and supporters throughout England and Wales campaigning for the government to end support for fossil fuels overseas, including by signing petitions and lobbying MPs. In addition our partners and advocacy team led groundbreaking research which aided this decision making.

4. Net Zero

In 2019, we saw a historic breakthrough when the UK became the first major economy in the world to commit to ending its contribution to climate change, by setting in law a by-2050 net zero emissions target.

We have been campaigning together on climate for many years – from Renewing the Earth, to One Climate One World, Power to be and now Our Common Home. The commitment to was aided by over 34,000 people taking action with CAFOD to demand that the government urgently tackle the climate crisis.

Thousands of supporters gathered in Westminster for ‘The Time is Now’ mass lobby of Parliament. 12,000 people, including thousands of CAFOD supporters, lobbied their MPs on Parliament Square. Over 380 MPs were lobbied, making it one of the largest of any mass lobby of Parliament.

UK - Lobbying MPs

CAFOD supporters from across the country came to Westminster to lobby their MPs.

5. Share the Journey - UN Global Compacts agreed

Our campaign urged world leaders to support refugees and migrants resulted in tens of thousands of people responding to Pope Francis’s message on migration and world leaders adopting the UN Global Compacts which sought to protect the rights of refugees and migrants. The compacts are a symbol of global political cooperation on the issue of refugees and migration and therefore an opportunity to hold governments to account.

More than 40,000 CAFOD supporters walked in solidarity with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Collectively, their steps resulted in CAFOD supporters walking the equivalent of four times around the world sending a strong message to leaders around the world.

Europe - UK - London - Share the Journey hand in at No 10

Staff and supporters who took part in Share the Journey walks hand in the CAFOD petition to Number 10, calling for Theresa May to be a leader with the UN Compacts on Refugees and Migration.

6. Power to be - World Bank acts on energy to tackle poverty

One in six people worldwide still live without safe and reliable access electricity. Research shows, that local renewable energy such as solar power is usually the quickest, safest and cheapest way of accessing electricity. In 2017, over 30,000 of you spoke up loud and clear to the World Bank and to the UK government.

In replies to questions from MPs, former Secretary of State Priti Patel stressed the strong influence the UK government has as a major shareholder at the World Bank. She also emphasised the importance of speaking up for energy spending that benefits the world’s poorest people. In December 2017, the World Bank took a big step to protect the planet and the poorest people by pledging to stop support for oil and gas after 2019.

7. Eviction stopped in Brazil

For months, almost a thousand people in the Mauá community in São Paulo – including older people, pregnant women, and children –lived in fear of being thrown onto the streets. Through CAFOD's Connect2 project, parishes in England and Wales have been following and supporting the Mauá community since 2010.

Thousands of CAFOD supporters signed petitions, sent emails, and shared #FicaMaua photos on social media – all calling for a halt to the eviction. These were sent to the São Paulo City Council, Housing and Human Rights Departments and the Brazilian President. This boosted an international campaign that was successful in stopping the eviction. Hundreds of families now have a roof over their heads for good.

Latin America- Brazil- Mauá community celebrate as eviction cancelled

Dona Teresa Conceição (76) and other Mauá residents in Brazil joyfully cheering as they hear the news that the threatened eviction is cancelled  (Photo: Anderson Barbosa)

8. One Climate, One World - Paris climate deal agreed

In 2015, we responded to Pope Francis' call to care for our common home. Nearly half of all MPs in the UK were lobbied on climate change when 9,000 people turned up at Parliament to make a stand. CAFOD supporters from all over the country were there in force to speak up about the impact climate change is having on people living in poverty. Later in the year, over 40,000 people in the UK added their names to a global Catholic petition calling for action at the Paris climate change talks.

Public pressure like ours contributed to the agreement of a strong climate deal in Paris, which put the world on the path to a low-carbon future, stated that temperature increases must be kept to 1.5°C, and reaffirmed the commitment of rich countries to support countries on the frontline of the climate crisis financially to cope with its impacts.

9. Hungry for Change and Enough Food For Everyone IF

In 2013-14, 60,000 CAFOD supporters joined us in asking the Prime Minister to take action to help alleviate the suffering of the 870 million people who don't have enough to eat.

During the campaign, thousands of Catholics encouraged rich country leaders to pledge £2.7 billion to tackle child malnutrition. This helped to secure a commitment from the UK government to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on international development aid. As well as this, a hard-won reform of EU law was agreed, requiring large, publicly-listed companies in all EU countries to be more transparent. This includes some global food companies, bringing us one step closer to a fairer food system.

UK - London - hungry for change 60000 hand in Parliament

CAFOD campaigners en route to Downing Street with 60,000 demands for action on hunger