Pope Francis appoints Edenhofer to help in “Promoting Integral Human Development”

01/12/2021 - Ottmar Edenhofer will from now on advise the Vatican's “Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.” The Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) was appointed by Pope Francis, who created the institution just a few years ago. The dicastery's mission is to strengthen justice for refugees and stateless people who have had to leave their homes due to violence, economic crises or natural disasters, as well as promoting justice for the sick and poor.
Pope Francis appoints Edenhofer to help in “Promoting Integral Human Development”
Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research (Photo: Photothek)

“Weather extremes triggered by the destabilization of our climate are already driving migration movements worldwide. Droughts can cause simmering conflicts to flare up violently, and crop failures can drive up food prices," Edenhofer commented in his appeal. "Unfortunately, if the planet continues to warm, migration and conflicts will likely escalate. The climate issue is fundamentally also a justice issue. It is therefore both a great honor and responsibility to provide scientific advice to the Holy See on these important issues.”

Under Edenhofer, who led a Jesuit refugee assistance organization in Croatia and Bosnia at the height of the Yugoslav conflict in the early 1990s, researching and mitigating climate-related migration and conflict factors has become one of PIK's most important research topics. At the same time, climate and environmental protection has become a core Vatican concern since the publication Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si” on inequality and sustainability. This was based on findings from climate science and Edenhofer, among others, contributed to the encyclical's creation.

As soon as the Corona pandemic subsides, the plenum of the agency, which has a staff of around 50, is to meet again at regular intervals at its headquarters in Palazzo di San Callisto in Travestere to discuss solutions for current trouble spots and crises.


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