Putting faith centre stage at international climate talks

Opening procession of an ecumenical worship service of “Prayer for the Planet” at the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Martyrs in Marrakech during the COP22 UN climate conference in Morocco, 8 November 2016. Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/LWF.

Press Release No: 16/40
10 November 2016

Just under one year ago the long-negotiated Paris Agreement was adopted by 195 countries. Last week it came into effect, marking a new era of coordinated global action in the fight against climate change.

For the next two weeks in Marrakech (Morocco) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22), parties to the agreement will focus on action to set the agreement in motion, especially relating to adaptation, dealing with loss and damages, and capacity building among non-state actors. CEC Study Secretary and European Christian Environmental Network Secretary Peter Pavlovic is in Marrakech as part of a World Council of Churches delegation.

Among the religious and civil society actions planned for COP22 is the handover of an interfaith statement on climate change today, 10 November.The statement makes a number of appeals to the international community, including a shifting of funds from fossil fuels to renewables and for a robust consideration of human rights, including increased attention to the rights of indigenous peoples, gender equality, and food security.

The statement also highlights the historic inspirational role religious communities have played in times of transformation, “We must commit to new ways of living that honour the dynamic relationships between all forms of life.” The religious leaders also appeal to world leaders and faith communities alike to embrace change that will protect the planet, including the divestment from fossil fuels and a just transition to renewable energy.

CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen and President Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD are among the high-level endorsers of the interfaith statement.

“The signing of the interfaith statement in the hinterland between the South and Europe reminds us that no country is ‘an island’ just to itself. We are all together, nations and faiths, breathe the same air, eat the same fruits of the earth, drink of one global cup of water,” remarked Bishop Hill. “As churches, we are part of this and continue to pray and work with the Paris Agreement, through Marrakech and beyond.”

“The common efforts of humanity to slow down climate change and limit its consequences are day by day more indispensable. This consciousness helps us to see each other as sisters and brothers in common humanity, over and beyond our fears, alienations and enemy images,” remarked Fr Heikki. “This is a spiritual exercise which involves repentance, a change of mind and actions, a commitment for justice towards all created beings. Amidst so many alarming news about wars and threats of violence, the message from Marrakesh in one of hope and encouragement.”

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For more information or an interview, please contact:

Erin Green
Communication Coordinator

Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 234 68 42
Fax +32 2 231 14 13
E-mail: eeg@cec-kek.be
Website: www.ceceurope.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ceceurope
Twitter: @ceceurope

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of 115 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all across Europe, plus more than 40 National Council of Churches and Organisations in Partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.

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