We feel honored to be here among the participants of FIMARC 16th World Conference and Global Assembly to share our thoughts on Sustainable Agriculture.
Sustainable agriculture has been one of the major focus of Caritas Asia strategy since its first establishment in 1999 through various programs implemented at parish, diocesan, national, sub regional and regional levels, with Smallholder Farmers at the center of our work.
For Caritas, the smallholder farmers play a crucial role in the social mission of the Church, not only because they are an important part of society, but also because they are the very backbone and source of the food system that sustains every family in every community. They help in the development and nurturing of communities by producing the daily food needs of all individuals, who are the nucleus of society.
The smallholder farmers, however, have yet to receive enough attention and support in dealing with challenges they struggle with for many years, including among others, land ownership, access to capital and to market, support in climate change adaptation and many more. These challenges are further exacerbated by the now unpredictable changing patterns of the weather that has made farming more chaotic and more susceptible to agricultural losses, than ever before.
Through the years, 25 Caritas member organizations in Asia have continuously addressing this issue through various key activities including capacity buildings, awareness raising, dialogue with decision makers, research, and collaboration with different actors.
You can see some of the best practices and learnings here through the 6 Caritas MOs present here from Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, including Thailand as the host. In few minutes we will also learn about Caritas Thailand’s work in caring for our common home with the smallholder farmers in the dioceses in Thailand.
Similar to FIMARC, Caritas is also moved by the Pope Francis’ papal encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home.” The encyclical letter inspires Caritas Confederation in launching its worldwide #TogetherWe campaign, where we form Communities of Care. Communities of Care are made up of parishioners, diocesan representatives, youth clubs and community members in general who commit together to act at all levels to care for our planet and to care for the poor.
In all countries where Caritas is present, Communities of Care engage and empower people to be change makers in their local communities with a view to promoting integral ecology as inspired by the teachings of Fratelli Tutti and Laudato Si’.
Through this campaign, we would like to share that everyone has a chance to raise awareness and collectively address care for the poor and care for our planet in our efforts to uphold human dignity and advance social justice together, which is in line with FIMARC World Assembly’s theme this year: Let’s be actors of Ecological, Economical and Human transition/transformation... Let’s dare to build dignified rural life and a just world!!!
Thank you very much for having us here and be a part of your journey in protecting our common home.
(Dr. Benedict D’Rozario, Caritas Asia President, address during Caritas Special Session on Sustainable Agriculture, 30 September 2023)
Caritas Asia participated in the FIMARC 16th World Conference and Global Assembly held on 26 September-4 October 2023 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. More than 70 participants of 29 countries worldwide joined the event, including 5 Caritas MOs in Asia and Caritas Asia Regional Secretariat.
We express our sincerest thanks to all the participants of the Caritas Asia 2023 Regional Conference, which was held at The Four Wings Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand on 7-8 March 2023. Your presence and active involvement in the conference contributed significantly to the success of the event. We appreciate your valuable inputs, insights, and perspectives that helped shape the discussions and debates on the critical issues that our Caritas family in the region needed to resolve. Your contributions have been instrumental in the decisions and conclusions that were reached at the conference.
We are very grateful, as well, for the important discussions, resolutions, and decisions made during the conference, including the approval of the proposed agenda and the draft proceedings of the 2022 Regional Conference, as well as the acceptance of the third draft of the CI Strategic Framework. Your valuable inputs also helped in the decision to create the Asia Human Mobility Network and the approval of the proposed distribution of the 2023 Caritas Asia Structural Feesand CI Statutory Fees.
We also appreciate your support of the decision of the Regional Commission to postpone the regional elections and re-open the nomination for the presidency of Caritas Asia. We believe that this decision was made in the best interests of our organization, as it will provide opportunities for wider choices of candidates and ensure that the best candidate is selected for this important role. We hope that all of you will continue to support this decision by actively participating in the nomination process and engaging with your communities to identify strong candidates for the presidency of Caritas Asia.
Rest assured that Caritas Asia remains committed to ensuring that the decisions you made at the conference are implemented effectively to improve the lives of those we serve in the Asia region. We are confident that, with the continued support and active involvementof all of you, our 25 Caritas Member Organizations in Asia, as well as our global Caritas partners, we can achieve our goals and make a positive impact on the lives of those we serve.
Please click here to see more pictures from the event
Caritas Asia Team
Caritas confederation, together with more than 4,000 participants worldwide, participated in the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) held from 23-28 May 2022 in Bali, Indonesia, through online and in-person. This seventh session of GPDRR in 2022 marked as the first in person conference after countries applied international travel restrictions following the outbreak of COVID-19. Caritas confederation was represented in the conference by Caritas Indonesia, Caritas Asia, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas Germany working in Asia/Indonesia. Caritas managed to secure two slots for a talk show and ignite stage respectively.
Caritas Talk Show was a separate session under Indonesia House of Resilience (Rumah Resiliensi Indonesia) organized by the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA). The venue was provided to facilitate Indonesian local humanitarian actors who were not able to share their best practices and promote their successful initiatives in reducing disaster risks and build resilience in GPDRR main events.
The Talk Show was successfully held on 26 May 2022 at noon (Indonesian central time zone) through a clear moderation of Mr. Cipto Priyo Leksono, Head of Caritas Germany office in Indonesia, on the role of faith-based organizations in empowering local humanitarian actors. The speakers invited to the Talk Show are Mr. Pangarso Suryotomo (Director of Preparedness Department, BNPB, Government of Indonesia), Fr. Fredy Rante Taruk (Executive Director of Caritas Indonesia), Mr. Helmi Hamid (Catholic Relief Services/CRS), and Mr. Surya Rahman Muhammad (Humanitarian Forum Indonesia/HFI). The discussions reminded the audience that faith-based organizations, even the smallest units present in communities, and the interfaith network play crucial roles in responding to the needs of those affected by disasters, building community resilience, and protect our common home.
On the 27 May 2022, Caritas Indonesia, in collaboration with Caritas Germany and Caritas Asia, delivered a 15-minutes sharing of best practices from Disaster-Resilient Family program in Ignite Stage session. In Disaster-Resilient Family program (KATANA), Caritas Indonesia emphasized that the involvement of family members in assessing hazards, capacities, vulnerabilities and risks is crucial in disaster preparedness, which contributes to create a resilient community. In their message, Caritas Indonesia remains committed to build resilient communities, which includes their future plan under Disaster-Resilient Parish program, in line with Caritas Strategic Orientation to Reduce Risk, Save Lives and Rebuild Communities.
WORLD WATER DAY
Asia Regional Webinar on THE PROSPECTS OF GROUNDWATER RECHARGING & HARVESTING
Date: 22nd March Time: 10.00-12.00 (Indian Time)
Organiser: CIDAL/Caritas India/ Caritas Asia
Caritas Institute of Developmental Action and Learning (CIDAL) of Caritas India in association with Caritas Asia organised an online event (webinar) on “THE PROSPECTS OF GROUNDWATER RECHARGING & HARVESTING” on March 22, 2021 at 10.00 to 12.00 hrs to commemorate World Water Day 2022 to talk about how to conserve, preserve and protect the groundwater resources through rainwater conservation, recharging and harvesting. The webinar was attended by around 97 participants from across Asia. The World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the global water crisis, and a core focus of the observance is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, focuses on the importance of freshwater. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Mr. Zar Gomez, the Regional Coordinator of Caritas Asia welcomed the gatherings and set the context of the webinar. He said that water is under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands of agriculture and industry, and the worsening impacts of climate change. The value of water is about much more than its price. The theme of World Water Day 2021 is “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible”. Through this webinar we brought in clarity to understand sustainable ways of water management and groundwater recharging. Today, water is under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands of agriculture and industry, and the worsening impacts of climate change. As societies balance the demands on water resources, many people’s interests are not being taken into account. Groundwater has enormous and complex value for our House hold, Culture, education, health and integrity of our natural environment. Hence it is important to conserve, preserve, and protect water resources.
Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Paul Moonjely, the Executive Director of Caritas India gave the Key note speech highlighting the importance of conserving precious water resources. He said all of us are together here wo discuss on groundwater issues and solutions though groundwater recharging and harvesting. Caritas India has been doing the little we can on the conservation and replenishment of Groundwater resources. He metioned the experiences of promoting water conservation and agricultural enhancementOur life cannot proceed without water. Our country is blessed with lot of water resource, water bodies at the sad situation remains that we go through lot of water stress situation, droughts on the one side and floods on the other side is the irony of human life today. How do we respect water resources, how to conserve, how to manage and how to make use of this rich resource responsibly so that it is being used in a more sensible way, responsible way so that everybody has a share for it. It is the. responsibility of organisation like Caritas India to bring this core message to everyone that we value water and we work for the conservation and preservation of water. Making water as a kind of commodity to make profits and huge margins and we see that in the process of making margin many are marginalised and many are denied of their basic right to life in the form of denying water.
Dr. Sabita Madhvi Singh, Joint Director, National River Conservation Directorate, Dept. of Water Resources, Govt. of India narrated the policy implementation of the ministry and achievements of various water conservation/management schemes being promoted by Government of India. Water sustainability is one of the greatest challenge faced by India and growing pressure on water resources from population and economic growth, climate change, pollution and other challenges has major impacts on our social, economic and environmental well-being. She has mentioned about the national water policy and national water mission and explained the measures for sustainable development in water resources. Dr. Sabita narrated different schemes under swatch Bharat mission, catch the rain campaign etc.
Dr. Kas Mani, Groundwater Advisor, World Bank, FAO, IFC spoke of the critical role of “Participatory Groundwater Management in times of changing Climate Scenarios“ through building community knowledge to bring visibility to groundwater. He said India is the largest user of groundwater. Groundwater contribution to the economy is in food security, health, drinking water, nutrition, commerce, and industries. Groundwater development is unrestricted as it is linked to landholdings without any limits on the nature of its use. Groundwater distress is linked to well failure, salinity and quality deterioration. Managing groundwater is not an option but an urgent necessary and needs participatory approach. He said millions of wells are pumping away all the available groundwater resources. The sixth assessment report of IPCC 2022 has regionalized hotspots linking groundwater vulnerability. Addressing the issue of sustainability at grassroots is best done through participation of water users in all aspects of development and management. It is important to have a participatory approach for achieving SDGs. The Vulnerable populations prone to distress need support through major initiatives at the grass root levels. Groundwater aquifers are getting more and more vulnerable to abuse, climate change will only make the situation worst. Global institutions and countries are working on regional actions on mitigation. Small scale participatory strategies need to be taken up together with regional actions. Capacity building of the vulnerable population is critical to mitigation. Global examples of collective action, local governance, participatory monitoring offer scope for large scale replication. Conversation need to be initiated on the responsibilities of all stake holders for responsible action. It would be a privilege to provide technical guidance to participatory actions
Ms. Sophan Kanhchna, Project Manager of Caritas Cambodia shared the Groundwater Recharging Experiences in Cambodia”. Caritas Cambodia is working on contributing to the SDG Goal No. 6 on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all and this is being done through trainings, awareness raising and exposure visit on water management, WASH, Environmental protection, water and sanitation, establish water user group, water business group, technical support on climate adaptation. Caritas Cambodia has been promoting small scale infrastructure (water conservation measures) in community including ponds, calvert, bridge. Under water and sanitation program, Caritas Cambodia is supporting communities and household to access water for year-round such as water filter, rain water collection, water jar, water pump, hand water pump. Improve Sanitation through support toilet construction, West management, hand washing system in school and community, …etc. Community water management have been done by supporting facilities to improve water included Solar water pump, community pond. Facilitate to create community water business: Community business (pure dirking water, water filter producer group, water connection business…etc).
Mr. Sukleash George Costa of Caritas Bangladesh presented Good Practices recorded for reducing water and Soil pollution through Agrochemicals from of Agricultural Water Pollution Project. Characteristics of project working area areRain fed, drought prone, affected by climate change, polluted soil & water of Rajshahi district (North Western part) of Bangladesh and the participants are Small holder farmers, Research Partners (Department of Agronomy & Agricultural Extension, Department of Geography & Environmental Studies and Department of Law of Rajshahi University) (Three professors and 33 students), Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) and Local government Representative. The research focus includes Nutrient Management by applying half chemical along with FYM, earthworm compost, Trico-compost, Tricoderma and promoting ICM (Integrated Crop Management): Reduce agrochemicals and promote foliar spray, live perching, date perching, light trap and botanical pesticides. Objectives of the ation research includes identification of the causes of water and soil pollution of the project area, understanding farmer’s perception about water and soil pollution due to the traditional agricultural practices, making recommendations and suggestions for sustainable environment friendly agriculture practice methods and to analyse and influence the current governmental policy and programmers to protect soil and water pollution.
Mr. Ari Nugroho, Caritas Asia moderated the open forum and Dr. Haridas of Caritas India expressed vote of thanks. The webinar concluded at 12.00 hrs.