UNEP Chief Achim Steiner Welcomes Papal Encyclical On Environment


UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Achim Steiner issued the following statement today following the release of His Holiness Pope Francis’ second encyclical:

“The UN Environment Programme welcomes Pope Francis’ unambiguous call to action in the face of global environmental degradation and climate change.

“This encyclical is a clarion call that resonates not only with Catholics, but with all of the Earth’s peoples. Science and religion are aligned on this matter: The time to act is now.

“We share Pope Francis’ view that our response to environmental degradation and climate change cannot only be defined by science, technology or economics, but is also a moral imperative. We must not overlook that the world’s poorest and most vulnerable suffer most from the changes we are seeing. Humanity’s environmental stewardship of the planet must recognise the interests of both current and future generations.

“With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September and a climate agreement in December, we have the opportunity to positively alter the course of history, creating a better and more equitable world for all.

“Given what we know about the state of our planet, and the choices we can make today, there can be no equivocating in the face of grave consequences. We all must recognise the need to reduce our environmental impact, and consume and produce in a sustainable way.

“As Secretary General Ban Ki moon has repeatedly stated, ‘We are the first generation that can end poverty, and the last generation that can act to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.’”