We people of faith – religious leaders, agriculture, development workers and environment specialists – have met in Mukono, Uganda, for three-day (October 12-14) international workshop organised by the Uganda Faiths Network on Environment Action and the UK-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation to discuss engaging the faiths in sustainable agriculture and sustainable land management.
Today, on the last day of our meeting, which coincides with World Food Day, we declare that we are seriously committed to promoting this issue in our faith communities and our countries. In all our religious teachings and Holy Scriptures, it is clearly stated that protecting and taking care of nature and human life is one of the main instructions of our Creator, and human beings are guardians of this Earth.
We note the fact there is enough food for everyone to be well-fed, yet one person in eight still goes to bed hungry. The world’s population is expected to increase to more than nine billion people by 2050 – with much of that increase coming in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, food production needs to increase by 60-70%.
Africa is suffering high levels of environmental degradation, including deforestation, desertification and soil erosion. Our soils are losing their vitality and our crop yields are falling. Poverty and hunger are increasing. Some of this is through our own lack of care of our environment. At the same time, Africa is also suffering the impact of climate change, through more floods, droughts and extreme weather conditions. These consequences will greatly increase hunger, poverty, disease and conflict in Africa, posing challenges to peace and security in the region.
There is much that we cannot do in the fight against climate change. But there is much that we can do to protect our environment, improve our agriculture and create a healthier and more sustainable society. That is why we believe that scaling up faith-based approaches to agriculture is one of the most important steps we can take to fulfill our religious duty to care for God’s creation.
We note the launch of the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance in June 2014 as well as the launch of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture in September 2014, with their aims to reach out to millions of smallholder farmers within the next decade or so. We agree that helping people grow more food in ways that do not damage the environment, build resilience to climate change and reduce agriculture’s contribution to carbon emissions are the key to reducing hunger and poverty.
We are encouraged by the support expressed by the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries & Fisheries for engaging faith communities in agriculture and the action it has already undertaken to do so. We call upon agriculture ministries throughout Africa to adopt a similar position. We also call upon the faiths to adopt and promote approaches to agriculture that are enlightened and guided by the faith that sustains them, thus fulfilling their duty of protecting God’s creation – both in terms of the natural world and the people who inhabit it.
We declare that:
Our vision is of all faith communities across Africa practising agriculture that is enlightened and guided by the faith that sustains them and in so doing, leading their people, through their faith in the Creator, to protect and care for the creation and human life, and in this way reduce hunger and poverty, protect the environment, build stronger societies and strengthen our economies.
Download the declaration here (PDF, 982KB)
Download the Mukono Declaration
The Mukono Declaration is about the role of faith communities in promoting faithful farming. It was issued on the international UN World Food Day in 2014.
Download a copy of the declaration here (PDF, 982KB).