Pope Francis was received with great applause when he entered the seat of the United Nations in Nairobi.
Since 1996, the complex has been home to two UN agencies that deal with the environment and sustainable development. The heads of each organization thanked the Pope for his visit.
Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
"Thank you for being with us today and for speaking from the heart of Africa to the heart of people across the world.”
In his speech, Pope Francis thanked the organizations for their work to protect nature. Speaking in Spanish, he once again made a call for the upcoming COP 21 Paris climate conference to produce a real commitment to the environment.
"I express my hope that COP21 will achieve a global and 'transformational' agreement based on the principles of solidarity, justice, equality and participation; an agreement which targets three complex and interdependent goals: lessening the impact of climate change, fighting poverty and ensuring respect for human dignity.”
Above all, he said, it's important for the agreement to take care of the billions of people on the planet instead of just special interest groups.
"It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were particular interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and projects.”
Further, the Pope asked them to correct errors in the current development model that lead to a throwaway culture. He also said a new energy system that doesn't rely exclusively on fossil fuels is necessary. But people, the Pope added, most be at the center of the agreement.
"Many lives, many stories, many dreams have been shipwrecked in our day. We cannot remain indifferent in the face of this. We have no right.”
The Pope discussed more than just the environment. He also weighed in on difficult issues like prostitution, human trafficking, and modern slavery. He also added that activities like diamond mining and ivory trafficking lead to political instability and even terrorism.
Wrapping up his speech, the Pope called for cures to diseases like malaria and tuberculosis to be above any commercial interests.