ECEN Assembly: Church leaders and researchers discuss water in a sustainable future

Monday, 13 June
Helsinki

The second full day of the 11th Assembly of the European Christian Environmental Network brought together church leaders and researchers to discuss water in a sustainable future. A number of detailed presentations highlighted various aspects of the role of water in the overall future of the Earth and ongoing climate crises. The day opened with morning prayers led by Metropolitan Ambrosius of Helsinki in the chapel at the Culture Centre Sofia.

The first session was a presentation and discussion with Jukka Uosukainen, Director of the Climate Technology Centre and Network, the operational arm of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This presentation helped frame the discussion about water in terms of the Paris Agreement and its implications for international coordinate action against climate change. These perspectives were complemented by a presentation from Karin Lexén, a director at the Stockholm International Water Institute responsible for World Water Week and International Processes. She focused, in part, on advocacy and youth participation in international dialogue related to water justice.

The afternoon sessions brought together contributions from the local context in Finland. Church leaders contributed theological reflections on a range of topics relating to the theme of water, advocacy, and the churches’ role in sustainable futures. The Assembly enjoyed presentations from Metropolitan Ambrosius of Helsinki (Orthodox Church of Finland), Bishop Irja Askola, Bishop of Helsinki (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland), and Archbishop Kari Mäkinen (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland). Their faith-based perspectives were paired with a contribution from Professor Markku Kulmala, Director, Atmospheric Sciences Division, University of Helsinki.

Following the evening meal, the Assembly gathered for a final informal session where participants gave short 5-minute presentations on work and projects from their home contexts.

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