H.E. Nahyan bin Mubarak attends signing of the ‘Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement on Climate Change’
– H.E. Nahyan bin Mubarak emphasizes that the UAE is making concerted efforts to become a global model for a sustainable future
– Participants in the Global Faith Leaders Summit send a message to the leaders attending COP28
– Antonio Guterres emphasizes that the world requires faith leaders to raise awareness about the dangers of climate change
– The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar stresses that we must take decisive actions that contribute to influencing global decision-makers to enhance climate justice and protect the environment
– Pope Francis underscores that effectively confronting the climate emergency requires the participation and cooperation of everyone
– H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber states that the Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement on Climate Change represents a declaration of unity, cohesion, and responsibility
– The Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders points out that the Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement on Climate Change affirms the unity of religious symbols in conveying their message of climate change to the world
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, witnessed the start of the Global Faith Leaders Summit for the signing of the ‘Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement on Climate Change’. The event was attended by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, President of COP28, His Eminence Dr. Mohamed Al-Duwaini, the Deputy of Al-Azhar representing the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, as well as Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See representing His Holiness Pope Francis, and Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who participated via a recorded video message. Also in attendance was His Excellency Judge Mohammed Abdelsalam, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, alongside various faith leaders, academics, indigenous peoples, and environmental experts from around the world.
During the opening session of the summit, His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, stated that the clear commitment of religious leaders to protect planet Earth inspires him and fills him with hope and confidence. He pointed out that COP28 will bring the world together to achieve a common goal: reducing global warming to pre-industrial levels and in turn contribute to the realization of the Paris Agreement’s climate goals. His Excellency also emphasized that we all share the sacred duty to protect planet Earth and its inhabitants, making the summit an example of the persistent work we are all called to do.
The UAE’s Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence further highlighted that the UAE’s hosting of COP28 aligns with the wise vision of the nation’s leadership and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the patron of the summit. He further noted that the UAE is working diligently and steadfastly to be a global model for a sustainable future, commending the cooperation with the Muslim Council of Elders, the Presidency of COP28, and the United Nations Environment Programme to send a message from the UAE to the world, advocating for hope, peace, caring for the Earth, and its inhabitants.
The ‘Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement on Climate Change’ was signed by 28 leaders and figures representing 18 different religions and urged government officials and leaders to respond urgently by swiftly transitioning towards sustainable energy to ensure climate justice. The call also encourages business leaders and policymakers to adopt a rapid and equitable transition to clean energy sources, enhance services aimed at addressing the impacts of climate change on human health, especially in vulnerable communities.
Prominent faith leaders also expressed their support for the ‘Faith Pavilion’ at COP28, co-organized by the Muslim Council of Elders, the Presidency of COP28, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Holy See, for the first time in the history of the Conference of the Parties. Leaders also encouraged the continued meetings in future COP conferences to send a message of hope and a call to action, supporting the development of faith-based environmental discourse.
Summit attendees also called on policymakers and global leaders that will attend COP28 to seize this critical moment and act urgently, to form a tight fabric of collective action and deep responsibility. They further emphasized that the urgent nature of this moment requires swift, cooperative, and decisive measures to save the world and preserve the beauty of our shared habitat, while also instilling hope in future generations, and to enhancing joint efforts to embark on this journey towards a future characterized by resilience, harmony, and prosperity for all forms of life on planet Earth.
His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan also attended the signing ceremony of the ‘Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement on Climate Change’, which was held during the evening session of the first day of the summit and saw prominent faith leaders planting the ‘Ghaf Tree’ which symbolizes combating desertification, reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality, and is also associated with the environmental and cultural heritage of the United Arab Emirates. Faith leaders then signed the call and handed it over to His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the President-Designate of COP28 and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology in the UAE, who, in turn, will deliver it to world leaders attending COP28, which will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates from November 30 to December 12, 2023.
During the signing ceremony, COP28 President-designate and UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber reiterated that in accordance with the vision and directives of the leadership of the United Arab Emirates, the Presidency of COP28 is dedicated to the principles of inclusivity, unifying efforts, and fostering collaboration in order to achieve the desired progress in global climate action. His Excellency emphasized that the statement, signed by a wide array of faith leaders, stands as a declaration of unity, responsibility, and an unwavering belief in the crucial role that religions and faith leaders can play in safeguarding our vulnerable and fragile world.
His Excellency further affirmed the COP28 Presidency’s support for the call made by faith leaders to unite efforts, activate participation in climate action, and build a better future for humanity worldwide. He described the ‘Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement on Climate Change’ as a significant declaration of intent that underscores the urgent need for action, unity, and cooperation, while also stressing the importance of taking responsibility and nurturing hope. He also commended the religious leaders and present beliefs that unite various faiths around one message for all of humanity, shouldering the responsibility of nurturing beliefs and supporting the aspirations of the vast majority of people while also amplifying the voices of many vulnerable communities. He also clarified that the ‘Global Faith Leaders Summit’ highlights humanity’s capacity to unite in climate action despite divisions, bringing together different religions and beliefs to unify efforts and realize a common goal.
For his part, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres said via a recorded video message, “The summit, which is taking place in the run up to COP 28 comes at the critical moment for humanity and the planet we call home. Those least responsible for this crisis, people and planet, need action to limit global warming to 1. 5 degrees, to face down planet killing fossil fuels, ramp up the renewables revolution and to support developing countries and deliver climate justice with finance for renewables adaptation and loss and damage. We need your moral voice and spiritual authority to summon the conscience of leaders, awaken their ambition, and inspire them to do what is needed at COP 28 to save our one and only home.”
In a speech delivered on behalf of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, His Eminence Dr. Mohamed Al-Duwaini emphasized that we must take decisive measures to influence global decision-makers in order to promote climate justice and protect the environment. He also explained that the convening of the Global Faith Leaders Summit is a historic step while commending the summit’s organizers. He further expressed his hope for greater cooperation among all concerned groups and organizations, to find practical and effective solutions that would mitigate the effects of climate change.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, added in a speech delivered on behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis, Pontiff of the Catholic Church, “The climate crisis, which has deep ethical roots, is an alarming and clear example of a failure of conscience and responsibility, and it is one that we can no longer accept. Its powerful effects are being felt even now – especially by those peoples that are most vulnerable – and those effects will be felt even more by future generations. Effectively confronting the climate crisis calls for involvement on the part of everyone. Individual actions are not of themselves sufficient; what is needed is the development of a responsible, collective response truly aimed at working together to build our common home.”
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople added, “The world still remains in crisis, but transformation is possible through ceaseless cooperation. Partnership is the new normal. As never before, diverse groups align to safeguard civilization and planetary health. By walking hand in hand, with hope as our compass, we embark on an unprecedented yet essential journey where faith, conscience and action converge. To sustain collaboration between diverse faiths and partners in science and society, we have to establish an ongoing mechanism for joint reflection, advocacy and action on the linked challenges of justice, sustainability and human development, translating powerful intentions into meaningful impacts. Together we are greater than the sum of our parts. Guided by timeless wisdom yet open to new solutions, we will restore nature’s balance, in order to build a society that flourishes in harmony with the Earth that sustains us all.”
The Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Elders, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, praised the efforts of the United Arab Emirates and its President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He also commended His Highness’s support for the global movement to address the climate emergency and stated that the hosting of COP28 by the UAE marks the beginning of a new and decisive phase in enhancing global efforts to confront this existential challenge. He further affirmed that the Muslim Council of Elders, under the chairmanship of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, is especially keen on unifying the voices of religious leaders in facing global challenges, particularly the climate emergency. He also emphasized that the signing of the ‘Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement on Climate Change’ by faith leaders confirms their unity in delivering their joint message to the world.
The Global Faith Leaders Summit, organized by the Muslim Council of Elders in collaboration with the COP28 Presidency, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Holy See, and the UAE’s Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence kicked off in Abu Dhabi on Monday. The summit saw significant participation from faith leaders and figures, academics, and environmental experts, along with representatives from indigenous populations, youth, and women with the aim of formulating a shared vision on climate change.
The summit’ first day featured two sessions titled, ‘Faith and Sustainability’ as well as ‘Faith for Plantary Resurgence’, while the second day included five sessions; ‘Changemakers Majlis: Faith and Science – Connecting the Heart and the Head’, ‘Towards an Integrated Approach’, ‘Interfaith Women Leaders’, ‘Youth Faith Leaders’ and ‘Towards Consolidated Action’.