Africa, like the whole world, woke up on February 24, 2022, to the news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a clear violation of international law and the UN Charter. Faced with the same reality, the international community reacted in different ways. While the U.S. and its Western allies activated a series of economic and diplomatic measures against Russia and set up a support system for Ukraine, the Global South has shown rather diverse and more circumspect attitudes.
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2022: A Watershed Year For Kazakhstan? Unrest and a constitutional referendum. The tragic events of January 2022 once again revealed how the republics that emerged from the collapse of the USSR are still a long way from stability. Kazakhstan is not an exception, just one more example. There are, however, big differences in the way the ruling elites react to protests, ranging from attempts to consolidate power through repression to introducing some reforms, even if these can sometimes be a fig leaf masking a tight grip on power.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has told world leaders at COP27 that “concrete decisions” to tackle the climate crisis “can no longer be postponed”. Representing the Vatican at the United Nations’ climate conference in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, He told around 200 countries negotiating next steps on cutting the emissions that cause global warming that “we cannot ignore” the link between the climate crisis and lack of access to food and water.
Economists failed to predict global inflation. In most industrialized countries it has now reached eight percent on an annual basis and promises to be with us for the next few months, and perhaps even the next few years. To the extent that most Western societies chose, 40 years ago, to prioritize the fight against inflation over any other policy consideration, a large number of Western central banks now feel compelled to imitate the anti-inflationary monetary policy of the U.S. Federal Reserve. During the course of 2022 they have increased their benchmark interest rates to levels not seen for several decades.
Every war is a defeat of peace. Every war is pain, suffering and death. In every war, peace is a complex journey of reconstruction. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has awakened from their torpor European countries accustomed to the idea that war was someone else’s problem. The world is, in fact, troubled by numerous conflicts, mostly in Africa and Asia, but virtually all continents are affected. The map shows the tragedy of the “Third World War in Pieces,” about which Pope Francis has long spoken.
Bishop John Arnold, environmental lead for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said on the eve of COP27 opening in Egypt, said: “It is vital that steps are taken to limit global temperatures.” He was speaking as a YouGov poll commissioned by Cafod shows nearly six out of ten Catholics feel the government has done too little to tackle climate change in the last year. Just 20 per cent of Catholics and 24 per cent of Christians believe the government is committed to its net zero target and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
The environmental crisis is a spiritual crisis. If this generation is to leave a world where future generations can flourish, the head and heart, the local and global, the Churches and all people of goodwill must come together. As Christians, we are taught to read the signs of the times. Who can fail to learn the lessons from the catastrophic floods in Pakistan?
The Philippines can proudly claim its contribution to the inclusion of progressive language, such as “independence and self-determination” in the UN Charter, then frowned on by some permanent members of the Security Council. Sadly, however, in the last five decades, the Philippines has witnessed gross and systematic violations of human rights and glaring impunity that never escaped global scrutiny.
The bishops of England and Wales have released a new edition of their teaching document on the environment, 20 years after it was first published. The Call of Creation, issued on 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi, calls for a “profound interior conversion” to address the ecological crisis, and the development of “a Christian spirituality of ecology” to form individuals and society.
A Prayer in Silence took place in the Conference Hall of the Independence Palace, opening the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions (September 14-15). Since its inception in 2003, the event has taken as its model the Day of Prayer for World Peace, convened in 2002 by St. John Paul II in Assisi, to reaffirm the positive contribution of religious traditions to dialogue and concord among peoples.