Pope, global leaders discuss concern for climate change, migration

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis met with Kofi Annan,
the former U.N. secretary-general, and former Irish President Mary Robinson to
discuss shared concerns about peace, human rights and climate change.

“Pope Francis has shown great moral leadership on the
crucial issues of our time. His assertion of the values of peace and human
dignity resonates with people of all faiths and those of none,” Annan said
in a written statement released after the Nov. 6 meeting in the pope’s

Annan and Robinson made the private visit Nov. 6 together
with Lakhdar Brahimi and Ricardo Lagos as members of “The Elders,” an
independent group of global leaders who use their experience and influence to
support peace and human rights.

The four representatives met with the pope “to
express their appreciation and support for his work on global peace, refugees
and migration, and climate change,” according to The Elders’ website.

The organization is “proud to stand in solidarity
with him today and in the future as we work for justice and universal human
rights,” Annan, chair of The Elders, said in his statement.

Annan told Vatican Radio it was important for them to
visit the pope because they hold a number of interests and values in common,
and they wanted to “discuss how we can work together, how we can pool our
efforts on some of these issues.”

Robinson, who is also a former U.N. high commissioner for
human rights and a U.N. envoy on climate change, told Vatican Radio that they
spoke about climate change and other issues where “the pope has given
leadership. We felt there was a great deal of common ground between us.”

Other issues they discussed, Annan told the radio, were
migration, nuclear weapons, the mediation of conflicts and “the importance
of giving women a voice and respecting their role.”

“I hope this will be the first of many
meetings,” he said.

They expressed their appreciation for what the pope has
been doing, Robinson said, and how he, like The Elders, is “trying to be a
voice for the voiceless” and the marginalized.

“I think he could be a future ‘Elder,'” Annan
told the radio, to which Robinson remarked, “I think he’s a Super

Former South African
President Nelson Mandela formally launched The Elders 10 years ago after
British entrepreneur Richard Branson and musician Peter Gabriel presented their
idea of taking the traditional practice of looking to one’s village elders for
guidance and conflict resolution and applying it to today’s “global

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