03 December 2023, The Tablet

Pope and Grand Imam sign declaration of support for climate action

Pope and Grand Imam sign declaration of support for climate action

Azra Talat Sayeed in a demonstration this morning advocating for peace for climate justice at COP28 in Dubai.
AP Photo/Peter Dejong

Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar have signed a declaration of support for urgent climate action, giving video addresses to COP28 in Dubai.

Pope Francis and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb, in video messages broadcast to delegates at the inauguration of the first ever Faith Pavilion at COP28, where they spoke of the urgency and hope for robust climate action. The Faith Pavilion brings interfaith cooperation to a global stage with the aim of to inspiring firm commitments on climate change.

The Pope and Grand Imam also signed the Interfaith Statement on Climate Action for COP28, which indicates commitment to take decisive action to address the climate emergency and is signed by faith leaders from across the world.

In the statement, faith leaders call on heads of state, governments, civil society and business leaders to respond urgently to the crisis by actions including the acceleration of energy transitions, transition to circular models of living in harmony with nature and rapid adoption of clean energy.

The statement was drafted by faith leaders ahead of COP28 at the Global Faith Leaders Summit held in Abu Dhabi in November, organisedd by the Muslim Council of Elders in collaboration with the COP28 Presidency and the United Nations Environmental Programme.

In his video address shown at COP28, Pope Francis said: “Today, the world needs alliances that are not against someone, but for the benefit of everyone. Let us, as religious representatives, set an example to show that change is possible, to demonstrate respectful and sustainable lifestyles, and let us fervently ask the leaders of nations to preserve our common home.”

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar said: “The exceptional initiatives undertaken by the Muslim Council of Elders – firstly, inviting diverse religious figures to sign the Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement for COP28 and secondly, establishing the first-ever Faith Pavilion at COP28 – are precious opportunities in making the voice of religious leaders heard in the face of global challenges, especially advancing the protection of our common home from irreversible destruction, which looms larger every passing year.”

COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said: “Climate change cares little about our politics, our borders, or our differences in religion. Our success depends on our ability to come together as one global community to solve it, and global faith communities play a significant role in instilling awareness of the shared social responsibility of all people worldwide towards environmental protection. Faith communities have come together in a truly historic moment of hope, peace, and optimism, uniting around a shared commitment to protect our planet.”

Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders said: “The first-ever Faith Pavilion at COP28 is a place of peace and cooperation for all, bringing together the wisdom of religions at COP28.”

The statement has also been signed by faith and spiritual leaders from around the world, representing Anglicans, Bahá’is, Bohras, Buddhists, Coptic Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Evangelicals, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Mahikaris, Mandaeans, Protestants, Roman Catholics, Shia Muslims, Sikhs, and Sunni Muslims.


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