The SMA and the OLA Justice Offices were instrumental in re-establishing a branch of the AEFJN in Ireland and for the last three years have been involved in planning and hosting events that highlight justice issues effecting Africa and Africans and which advocate for justice in addressing them. AEFJN Ireland is one of a number of national branches affiliated to the AEFJN which is based in Brussels.  Below is an article written by Fr Elvis Ng’andwe, M.Afr. the Executive Secretary. It was published in AEFJN ECHO 100 / ÉCHO 100 MAY/MAI 2024 

Introduction: In a world facing the ever-growing impacts of climate change, the concept of relational sustainability becomes increasingly vital. This holistic approach emphasizes the connections between individuals, communities, and nature, promoting deep, authentic, and lasting relationships. These connections are fundamental to addressing pressing global challenges, particularly food security, agroecology, and climate change, within the context of Africa-EU relations.

The Importance of Relational Sustainability: Relational sustainability involves an intricate web of relationships that include interactions between humans and the natural environment.

Recognizing humans as an integral part of nature underscores our dependence on the environment for food, shelter, medicine, and inspiration. However, human activities have disrupted this balance, leading to pollution, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and climate change, which threaten both current and future generations.

To address these challenges, we must cultivate respect, compassion, and collaboration across all sectors of society. This means fostering sustainable practices, protecting the planet, and building relationships based on mutual respect and understanding. Governments, businesses, non-profits, and individuals must work together to create a cohesive, resilient, just, and sustainable world.

The Role of Effective Demand and Infrastructure: Increased and sustained productivity in agriculture is driven by effective demand for food, which impacts crop profitability and incentivizes farmers to invest in soil health and fertilizers. Therefore, supporting food demand and connecting it with local or regional food supply through investment in infrastructure, such as ports, roads, soil laboratories, and energy, can enhance farmers’ incomes and national food security.

Kate Holt/AusAID, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The African Union’s adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade, along with protocols on investment and digital trade, represents a significant step towards improving food security. Initiatives like the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) and the AfCFTA Adjustment Fund aim to close the financing gap for intra-African trade and industrialization, further supporting the agricultural sector.

Africa-EU Collaborative Approach to Addressing Food Insecurity: The relationship between Africa and the European Union (EU) is crucial in the quest for relational sustainability, particularly in the realm of food security and agroecology. This partnership can leverage the strengths and resources of both regions to address shared challenges, such as the impact of climate change on agriculture and food production.

Despite these efforts, food insecurity remains a pressing issue across Africa. In Eastern Africa, conflicts, inflation, disease outbreaks, and poor access to nutritious diets and safe water contribute to the food insecurity of 58.2 million people. In West Africa, high food insecurity affects 158.5 million people, particularly in Sahelian countries and Nigeria.

Global cereal prices have generally decreased, yet regional disparities remain. In East Africa, cereal prices have fallen due to increased supplies from recent harvests, while in Southern Africa, maize and rice prices remain elevated. West Africa sees mixed trends, with some countries experiencing lower prices for key commodities like maize and sorghum.

The prolonged El Niño-driven dry spells and heat waves in Southern Africa, affecting countries like Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, highlight the urgent need for collaborative efforts. These extreme weather events have devastated crop production, exacerbating food insecurity. In Zambia alone, over a million farming households, or 6.6 million people, have been affected. Similarly, Malawi and Zimbabwe have seen significant crop damage and reduced rainfall, leading to widespread food shortages.

Agroecology, which integrates ecological principles into agricultural practices, offers a sustainable solution to these challenges. By focusing on soil health, biodiversity, and sustainable farming practices, agroecology can enhance resilience to climate change and improve food security.

Building a Sustainable Future: Ensuring food security and addressing climate change in Africa requires a multifaceted approach rooted in relational sustainability. By fostering collaboration between Africa and the EU, promoting agroecological practices, and investing in infrastructure, we can create a more resilient and sustainable agricultural system. Recognizing our interconnectedness with nature and each other is essential for building a prosperous future for all.

Through holistic and integrated strategies, we can achieve the goals of relational sustainability, ensuring that both people and nature thrive in harmony. This approach not only addresses immediate food security challenges but also lays the foundation for long-term resilience and sustainability in the face of climate change.

Kate Holt/AusAID, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Conclusion: The Africa-Europe Faith & Justice Network (AEFJN) plays a pivotal role in tackling food security and climate change in Africa through its faith-driven advocacy for ecological, social, and economic justice.

AEFJN promotes agroecology, pushing for sustainable farming practices that enhance soil health and biodiversity, and champions policies that support food security and environmental protection.

Our work extends to educating communities and policymakers about the nexus of food security, climate change, and social justice, underscoring the moral duty to protect the environment. By fostering collaboration between Africa and Europe, AEFJN ensures holistic and inclusive solutions, advocating for respect and mutual understanding.

Elvis Ng’andwe, M.Afr.
AEFJN Executive Secretary

Previous articleHomily for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B
Next articleSMA INTERNATIONAL NEWS – July 2024