- Faith communities at COP28 issue Call to Action urging for more ambitious agreements, reflecting the values of justice, interconnectedness and compassion for those most affected
- The declaration calls for extended funding and inclusive access to Loss and Damage Fund, new forms of access for the Green Climate Fund, and a commitment to the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
Dubai, 4th December 2023 – Faith communities at COP28 have issued a call to action urging summit negotiators to reach more ambitious commitments, actions and agreements within the final negotiations and beyond.
The Faith Pavilion acknowledged progress made for the Loss and Damage Fund. However, it expressed concern about the scale and urgency needed to hold global temperature to the ceiling of 1.5° C that may protect life today and in the future.
Reflecting that the climate crisis is fundamentally a human crisis, the declaration calls for the values held dear by spiritual and faith communities – justice, interconnectedness and compassion for those most affected – to be reflected in the final agreements of the summit.
The Call to Action urges COP28 negotiators and policy makers to:
- Prioritize a just transition to a green economy
- Adopt the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
- Prioritize the protection of species and ecosystems in climate negotiations
- Provide new and sustained funding and new forms of access to the Green Climate Fund
- Extend and diversify funding for a just and inclusive access to the Loss and Damage Fund
In addition to these policy asks, the declaration advocates for the establishment of neutral, objective, and forceful accountability measures which hold nations and institutions to account for harmful action, delay or inaction.
The Call to Action sets out a vision that the wellbeing of humans, animals, and nature will be the central indicator of progress, rather than a sole focus on linear economic growth, suggesting that a binding Holistic Wellbeing Index could assess development and prosperity in this way. The creation of this index requires a paradigm shift towards cyclic thinking, and an interdisciplinary, global approach, which also considers the wisdom of spiritual and faith traditions.
Dr. Iyad Abumoghli, Director of the Faith for Earth Coalition of UNEP, said: “As stewards of this Earth, this Call to Action invites all hearts and minds to unite in action. Let our convictions transcend boundaries, inspiring collective responsibility for climate protection. Together, we can chart a path of sustainable change guided by compassion and shared commitment.”
Bishop Marc Andrus, Episcopal Diocese of California, said: “The Loss and Damage Fund is welcome news, but we are no way near reaching the agreements needed to stay at a target of 1.5° C. Inclusive access to Loss and Damage, commitment to the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and new forms of access for the Green Climate Fund are all crucial commitments that we want to see realised at COP28. The message from faith communities is clear: we will be holding negotiators to account and reminding them to act with their conscience to ensure the protection of planet, and all those that call it home.”
Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Founder of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, said: “Faith leaders are united with climate scientists and activists to say: now is not the time to deny the science. Now that the talks are in the negotiations phase, faith communities are actively pushing to ensure the needs of the poorest and the planet are placed at the heart of the agreements we desperately need.”
Khushwant Singh, Head of Secretariat, International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD), said: “The Faith Pavilion, with its over 300 speakers from all over the world, inspires the actions, virtues and wisdom needed to protect nature and Mother Earth: inclusivity, humbleness, honesty, far-sightedness and altruism. This is especially needed amongst decision makers.”
The role of faith, spirituality and Indigenous wisdom has been a defining theme of COP28, with Pope Francis and the Grand Imam sharing video messages of hope and urgency, and the creation of the first-ever Faith Pavilion.