The Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability (CYNESA) is an important milestone in an inspiring journey to mobilize young Catholics in Africa to care for creation. On the fourth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si' and celebrating its fifth anniversary, CYNESA, together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WWF, organised the Conference "Laudato Si' Generation: young people caring for our common home", in Nairobi - Kenya, from 15-16 July, 2019.
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development joined the initiative as the inspiring institution that promotes the papal Encyclical Letter Laudato Si' around the world, and co-organised the event.
Approximately 270 people participated in the gathering, coming from about fifty countries - mainly from Africa. The event had a special focus on the African continent, although there were also speakers from other continents. Many of them were young people (many of them members of CYNESA) and numerous priests and religious, coming from Kenya or on a mission in that country, often involved in the management of ecological projects (farms, forestation, energy saving and use of solar energy, ...) in their respective dioceses or congregations.
The link between faith and nature conservation was at the core of the meeting and it is worth noting that, a couple of years ago, the UN Environment Programme launched the initiative called Faith for Earth. Among the other topics discussed during the Conference, lifestyles and ancestral knowledge of indigenous communities stood out, as well as the relationship of these communities with their territory, taking inspiration essentially from the experience of the Masai, but also bearing in mind the next Synod dedicated to the Amazon region and its inhabitants.
Much space has been also dedicated to biodiversity, with the screening of the first episode of the WWF's Series Our Planet, or with the presentation of the Great Green Wall in Africa, an initiative promoted by the UN Convention against Desertification.
The delegation of the Dicastery, led by Mgr. Bruno-Marie Duffé, Secretary, was composed of 5 people. The Officials of the Dicastery, all experts in evironement problems, gave reports on the encyclical Laudato Si' (Rev. Fr. Joshtrom Kureethadam) and also, in a more targeted way, on biodiversity (Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Kakule Vyakuno) and water (Mr. Tebaldo Vinciguerra). The Apostolic Nuncio, Bp. Hubertus Maria Van Megen) the Councillor of the Nunciature in Kenya and the Vice-President of the Bishops' Conference of Kenya also participated in the Conference.
During the Conference, a Message sent by Pope Francis to participants has been read. His Holiness asks youth of Africa "that your initiative may foster among all members of society, especially the young, a greater ecological sensitivity and concern for the environment".
The Laudato Si' Generation was launched during the World Youth Day in Panama, with the support of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The official lauch from the stage of the WJD 2019 included also the announcement of a prophetic manifesto which was handled to Pope Francis during the traditional lunch with the youth.