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Religions, Climate Change: Southeast Asia' Conference Supports Global Summit of Religious Leaders


Sun 08 Oct 2023 | 11:52 AM
'Religions and Climate Change: Southeast Asia' Conference Sends a Message of Support and Hope to Global Summit of Religious Leaders
'Religions and Climate Change: Southeast Asia' Conference Sends a Message of Support and Hope to Global Summit of Religious Leaders
Mohamed Mandour

 The 'Religions and Climate Change: Southeast Asia' conference, organized by the Muslim Council of Elders under the chairmanship of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar concluded in Jakarta, Indonesia with attendance by 150 representatives from various religions in the Southeast Asia region, along with scholars, thinkers, and youth engaged in climate change issues. The conference discussed the role of religions in addressing the negative impacts of climate change, conveying a message of hope to the Global Summit of Religious Leaders and Icons scheduled to be held in Abu Dhabi on November 6 and 7.

The conference's participants expressed their support for the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), which will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates at the end of the year. They also expressed hope for positive outcomes that will contribute to finding effective solutions to the issue of climate change for a better future for humanity.

The concluding remarks of the conference emphasized that religious leaders bear a historical responsibility to contribute to the protection of planet earth which involves making a strong call against irresponsible policies that exacerbate the climate crisis. The remarks also urged leaders, policymakers, economists, and businesspeople to take urgent action to mitigate the causes of climate change and the subsequent negative effects that threaten life on earth.

Furthermore, the statement called for the necessity of directing and enhancing community participation in supporting various initiatives for sustaining community life. This includes transitioning to environmentally friendly energy, implementing circular economies, incorporating religious education programs (both formal and informal), and raising awareness about environmental issues. It also advocated for regular dialogue between figures and business leaders to in an effort to reach ethical, and religious values in business practices.

Within Southeast Asia, the remarks urged religious leaders at both the regional and community levels to participate in efforts to address climate change by leveraging faith-based teachings and all forms of religious practices in an attempt to increase community awareness in dealing with the impacts of climate change, including prevention, mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. Additionally, it called for the promotion of education and the inclusion of education on climate change and sustainable development as part of religious teachings and practices in a bid to change societal behaviors towards the environment.

Indonesia's former Minister of Religious Affairs, His Excellency Dr. Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, delivered the closing remarks and handed a copy of them to Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, in order for them to be submitted during the Global Summit of Religious Leaders and Icons, scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi in November, as a precursor to the COP28 conference in Dubai.

The Indonesian capital Jakarta hosted a conference on the role of religions in addressing the negative impacts of climate change under the theme: 'Reviving Religious Values and Local Cultures in Addressing Climate Change for Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development'. The conference was part of a series of conferences organized by the Muslim Council of Elders to engage representatives of various religions and to generate ideas and solutions to reduce the negative impacts of climate change and raise awareness of its risks in preparation for the Global Summit of Religious Leaders and Icons, which will be held in Abu Dhabi on November 6 and 7. Additionally, the Muslim Council of Elders will organize the 'Faith Pavilion at COP28', hosted by the United Arab Emirates at the end of the current year, for the first time in the history of the Conference of the Parties. The pavilion is expected to serve as a global platform for interfaith dialogue on addressing the issue of climate change.