Pope Francis’s historic visit to Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, on 30 November 2015 is a powerful message to the international community to extend a strong hand to a deeply divided and torn country.
The Pope’s visit echoes the EU Council’s conclusions urging donor countries to provide increased support to the CAR’s reconstruction efforts and local communities’ resilience.
The pontiff’s trip took place at a historical time: CAR is preparing for general elections, and the world is agreeing a deal to address climate change and support to forested developing countries.
Civil society groups, including Fern’s local partner CIEDD, believe the Pope’s presence in Bangui was crucial to draw the world’s attention to the needs of deeply traumatised populations, including marginalised forest communities, and a chance to remind the political leadership to manage properly the country’s vast resources, including its forests, in keeping with the VPA signed with the EU.
[Image: Lewis Davies for Fern]