A conference focusing on the plight of island peoples in the face of climate change and other dangers was held online on May 21, bringing together leading Roman Catholic and Anglican experts.  

Building Fraternity, Defending Justice: Challenges and Opportunities for Insular Peoples is a joint project between the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. It is supported by both Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby who have both recorded messages for the conference.  

Among others involved are Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Integrating Human Development and Archbishop Ian Ernest, Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, who will co-chair the conference, as well as Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of Seychelles and Jack Palmer-White, permanent representative of the Anglican Communion to the United Nations.  

The conference was inspired by the concerns about what Pope Francis calls “our common home” in his encyclical on the future of the planet, Laudato Si’, in which he warned that the poorest will suffer the most from degradation of the earth. Special sessions will focus on women, justice and peace, young people and charity. Representatives from the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Philippines and other Pacific Ocean islands will participate.  

Archbishop Ernest said: “The purpose of organizing such a conference is that we intend to give a voice to those who today need to be heard. The peoples of different island nations of the world live under the constant threat of climate change and now with the prevailing pandemic, the backbone to their economic and social development, that is the tourist industry, is completely paralysed. The island nations are now in the process of finding alternatives to support their respective economies and are thus highlighting the richness of their own culture that may help them to make the difference. This conference wishes to uphold the urgent need for greater regional cooperation”.  

To see The Archbishop of Canterbury's video for this event, please press here

Archbishop Ian's Introduction to the event can be read here

Archbishop Ian's Conclusion to the event can be read here

The Papal Message can be read here