For so many across the world, 2022 has been one of the most difficult years in recent memory.
While the pandemic remains a distinct threat for the hundreds of millions still without access to vaccinations, we’ve also seen a devastating war break out in Ukraine, the ripples of which have pushed many into poverty and starvation.
But despite these and other giant challenges, Catholics across England and Wales have continued to make their voices as loud as ever to call for a better, fairer world.
Urging the Foreign Secretary to fix our food system
Our food system is broken. Despite producing hundreds of millions of tonnes of food more than we need to feed the global population, every night as many as 800m people go to bed hungry. There is a huge power imbalance between the powerful companies who make giant profits at the expense of small-scale farmer.
Over 11,000 CAFOD supporters sent a message to our Foreign Secretary, calling on them to use their power to begin to right the wrongs of our food system. In October, CAFOD staff and volunteers made sure the message was heard loud and clear by turning up outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Westminster.
Calling for a new law to protect people’s rights and the environment
If we are to have any chance of tackling the climate emergency and eradicating global poverty, it’s vital we hold large corporations to account, not least those in the UK. While these companies are held to tougher standards at home, they are often free to abuse and pollute communities in the world’s poorest nations.
During 2022, CAFOD supporters contacted more than 90 per cent of all MPs in Parliament to call for a new Business, Human Rights and Environment Act that would make companies based in the UK responsible for human right and environmental abuses abroad.
Peace in Ukraine
As the world woke up to the horror of the Russian invasion on 24 February, we asked our supporters to call on the Foreign and Home Secretary to push for peace in Ukraine and support those fleeing the conflict. Within a month, more than 3,000 Catholics sent a message, joining calls from all parts of society for the UK to step up. Since that date, more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the UK.
While here in the UK we're used to readily available access to a covid vaccine, in large parts of the world this is still from a reality, with just one in four people in low-income countries receiving a single jab.
Ahead of the crucial G7 summit in June, thousands of Catholics in England, Wales and Scotland signed a petition organised by CAFOD and our sister agency SCIAF urging the Prime Minister to push for a global vaccine roll-out.
As the coronavirus triggered the worst global health and economic crisis in a century, many developing countries found themselves forced to use their dwindling funds on paying and servicing debts, rather than for desperately needed health care or education.
On 13 April, CAFOD launched a petition in partnership with a coalition of organisations calling on BlackRock, the world’s largest finance company, to cancel the debts owed by Zambia. We then turned up outside BlackRock’s headquarters to let them know we, and thousands of others, were still waiting.
COP27 in Egypt
Ahead of world leaders and negotiators arriving in Sharm El-Sheikh, CAFOD supporters sent emails in their thousands to Rishi Sunak, calling him on to deliver the promises made at COP26, and to make sure those most affected by our changing climate were at the heart of talks.
To reinforce the point, CAFOD supporters joined marches taking place across the UK from London to Cardiff to Newcastle to demand action as negotiations hit their mid point. In the final hours of the summit, after it stretched on many hours after its scheduled close, it was finally announced that a historic ‘loss & damage fund’ was established to help those nations suffering the worst climate disasters.
Across 2022, we’ve also seen Catholics across England and Wales get involved with LiveSimply in their communities. The scheme was recently commended at the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, where Bishops’ encouraged schools and parishes to consider signing up to the award as a sign of solidarity with the poor and a desire to live in harmony with God’s creation. We hope to see many more parishes and institutions join the LiveSimply family next year.
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