Sunday, October 29, 2023

UAE to Host Global Climate Summit for Faith Leaders Prior to COP28


Abu Dhabi to Host Global Summit for Faith Leaders on Climate Change

Abu Dhabi will be the host city for a global summit that aims to highlight the crucial role of faith communities in combating climate change. The two-day summit, organized by the Muslim Council of Elders in partnership with the COP28 Presidency, the UN Environment Programme, and the Catholic Church, will take place on November 6-7. The event will precede the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

The summit will bring together faith leaders from major religions, as well as academics and environmental experts, to discuss their ethical responsibilities in addressing the climate crisis. One of the main objectives of the meeting is to explore how faith and science can collaborate to bridge the gap between empirical evidence and spiritual teachings. Additionally, participants will discuss ways to amplify the voices of religious leaders in advocating for climate justice and strategies for involving grassroots communities in sustainable development.

Mohamed Abdelsalam, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, emphasized the urgency of collective action in addressing climate change. He stated, “As our world inches closer to irreversible climate damage that can only be addressed through collective effort, the preliminary summit of religious leaders for COP28 comes at a critical moment where scaling up climate action in all sectors of society, eradicating climate change ignorance, and raising awareness of environmental issues have become imperative.”

Majid Al-Suwaidi, Director General of COP28, highlighted the importance of inclusion and faith-based communities in tackling climate change. He stated, “Our goal is to provide a global stage for fostering religious engagement and interfaith dialogue with the aim of inspiring ambitious goals and concrete actions to address the climate crisis.” Al-Suwaidi also announced that the Muslim Council of Elders and the UN Environment Programme will co-host the Faith Pavilion at COP28, marking the first-ever faith-based pavilion at a COP event.

COP28 UAE is expected to attract approximately 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youngsters, and non-state players. The conference will conduct the first-ever Global Stocktake, a comprehensive assessment of progress towards climate targets as mandated by the Paris Agreement.

This global summit for faith leaders underscores the recognition that religious communities have a significant role to play in addressing climate change. By bringing together leaders from different faith traditions, the event aims to foster dialogue and collaboration towards finding sustainable solutions. The inclusion of academics and environmental experts further enhances the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

The summit’s focus on the ethical responsibilities of faith communities aligns with the growing recognition that climate change is not just an environmental issue but also a moral one. Religious teachings often emphasize the importance of stewardship and care for the Earth, making faith leaders natural advocates for environmental protection.

Furthermore, by exploring the intersection of faith and science, the summit seeks to bridge the gap between empirical evidence and spiritual teachings. This holistic approach recognizes that addressing climate change requires both scientific expertise and a values-based approach rooted in faith traditions.

The involvement of grassroots communities in sustainable development is another crucial aspect of the summit. Local communities are often disproportionately affected by climate change and have valuable insights and solutions to offer. By empowering these communities and amplifying their voices, the summit aims to ensure that climate action is inclusive and equitable.

In conclusion, the global summit for faith leaders in Abu Dhabi will provide a platform for dialogue, collaboration, and action on climate change. By bringing together religious leaders, academics, and environmental experts, the event aims to harness the collective power of faith communities in addressing this global challenge. With COP28 UAE following shortly after, there is an opportunity to translate the discussions and commitments made at the summit into concrete actions towards a more sustainable future.

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