By Nation Reporter
CATHOLIC bishops of Zambia have called on the Government to implement policies that would protect the environment from pollution particularly from large investments in mining and agriculture.
This is contained in a communiqué read by Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) president Telesphore Mpundu at the end of a two-day conference aimed at popularising Pope Francis’ Encyclical call whose main focus was on mining and agriculture.
Archbishop Mpundu urged the Government to harmonise all policies that govern mining, agriculture, water and land.
“While appreciating that the two sectors are cardinal in creating jobs and meeting our daily needs, there is need for prudent and sustainable management of natural resources to reduce poverty among the people for the benefit of the future generations,” he said.
He said that the church had pledged to stand with the affected communities and equip them with the much needed information.
Archbishop Mpundu expressed gratitude to Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, for accepting to attend the conference and give a keynote speech.
He stated that participants have challenged the mining sector to begin to practice responsible mining that took into account the needs of the environment and affected communities. He stressed that mining companies were urged to put in place actions that would reclaim land used for extracting minerals to be re-used for other developments.
Some of the resolutions agreed called for transparency and accountability on mining concessions beginning with the affected communities to policy-makers, Government, traditional leaders and mining companies should lead the process.
The bishops have appealed to relevant authorities such as the Zambia Environmental Management Agency to exercise their mandate and provide information to affected communities displaced as a result of mining.
Participants also pledged to promote conservation, regenerative organic farming in their practices and methodologies as a way of caring for the land.
The meeting attracted various local as well as international participants from the church, academicians and the business world.