“COP28 must accelerate practical action on mitigation, adaptation loss and damage and climate finance and build a fully inclusive COP28 that leaves no one behind”.
(COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, EU Climate Commissioner and Chief COP28 Negotiator Wopke Hoekstra, Brussels – Nov 13th 2023).
- COP28 UAE will take place at Expo City Dubai from November 30-December 12, 2023. The Conference is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth, and non-state actors.
- As mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, COP28 UAE will deliver the first ever Global Stocktake – a comprehensive evaluation of progress against climate goals.
- The UAE will lead a process for all parties to agree upon a clear roadmap to accelerate progress through a pragmatic global energy transition and a “leave no one behind” approach to inclusive climate action.
Pray for the Dubai Climate Change Conference (COP28)
Pope Francis has asked us to “pray for the Dubai Climate Change Conference, COP28, which is now close at hand.”
It is hoped that the Climate Change Conference, COP28 will find agreement on policies aimed at limiting the rise in global temperature and dealing with the impacts associated with climate change.
The conference will also be attended by Pope Francis himself, who will deliver a speech on 2 December. The Pope will travel to the United Arab Emirates from 1 to 3 December. In addition to attending COP28, he will have private bilateral meetings and inaugurate the “Pavilion of Faith” at Expo City, designed to inspire more concrete action to curb climate change.
United for change
Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and a host of other religious traditions, large and small, were represented at the Global Faith Summit (held on 6-7 November in Abu Dhabi ahead of COP28), with some three dozen speakers highlighting a shared commitment to caring for Creation.
Among the participants were representatives of Pope Francis, Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Patriarch of Moscow, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
They emphasised that all religious traditions recognise the relationship between divinity and creation. Common themes emerged, including the moral duty of stewardship, or caring for God’s creation; the need to work together to combat climate change; and the recognition of the urgency of the climate change crisis and the need to take decisive action to meet climate goals.
Participants pointed to greed and self-centredness as root causes of the environmental crisis, and called especially for wealthier nations, which bear greater responsibility for climate change, to make efforts to help poorer countries that are disproportionately affected by the crisis.
Climate change, they said, is the gravest issue of our time, and requires urgent action to prevent catastrophe.
Recognising that more than 80 percent of the total global population professes some religious belief, summit participants emphasized the important responsibilities incumbent on religious leaders to raise awareness of climate issues in their communities.
They, too, called for greater efforts to mobilise believers to take concrete actions to combat climate change – both through individual commitment to sound environmental practices, and through concerted efforts to advocate for concrete actions from world leaders to address the climate crisis.
The Pavilion of Faith
Pope Francis is set to speak at the inauguration of the first-ever “Faith Pavilion” during the upcoming 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates. The Faith Pavilion will be hosted by the U.N. Environmental Program, the Muslim Council of Elders, the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, and dozens of other faith-based groups.
There’s been a long-term effort among from some faith bodies who have been attending the COP, to have a physical presence and to be more ‘at the table’, and a belief that we can be stronger voices together, in order to meet the urgent need to combat climate change effects. The pavilion is a physical embodiment of that commitment to really be an active sector in climate change work.
The pavilion can accommodate as many as 100 people and will host 65 sessions about how major religious groups are working to reduce climate change. The religions represented are Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Baha’i, Buddhism, Indigenous religions and Zoroastrianism.
“The Faith Pavilion will be right at the heart of COP28, located near the World Climate Action Summit and the area where the negotiations take place,” (Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Executive Director of the Jerusalem-based Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development).
“This demonstrates the significance of the interfaith movement in helping to tackle the climate emergency and provides a unique opportunity for faith-based engagement with key stakeholders, including political decision makers and negotiators.”
A number of high-level faith leaders will be speaking at the pavilion. Those leaders include Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis of the United Kingdom; Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, secretary general of the New York-based World Evangelical Alliance; and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, president of the India-based Divine Shakti Foundation.
Most of those speakers were signatories on a statement also signed by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and representatives of Francis, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar. That statement was released on Monday at the conclusion of a pre-COP28 gathering of global faith leaders in Abu Dhabi.
“We ardently implore all decision-makers assembled at COP28 to seize this decisive moment and to act with urgency, weaving a tapestry of shared action and profound responsibility,” the statement reads. “The urgency of the hour demands that we act swiftly, collaboratively, and resolutely to heal our wounded worlds and preserve the splendor of our common home.”
In the statement, they committed to guiding members of their organisations on environmental issues and changing consumption patterns to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement seeking net-zero carbon emissions.