WelCom December 2023
Pope Francis is set to speak at the inauguration of the first-ever ‘Faith Pavilion’ during the upcoming 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates.
As political leaders from across the globe gather from 30 November to 12 December to assess how well they are addressing climate change, religious officials — including Pope Francis, who is both a head of state and the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church — will have a new place of prominence.
The Pope will also deliver a speech at the summit and hold bilateral meetings while he is in Dubai from 1–3 December.
This gathering of global political leaders will include a strong presence of religious figures.
The Faith Pavilion, co-hosted by the UN Environmental Programme, the Muslim Council of Elders, the Interfaith Centre for Sustainable Development, the Episcopal Diocese of California and various faith-based groups, will serve as a hub for religious communities to address climate change collectively.
Anglican Bishop Marc Andrus, leader of California’s Bay Area-based diocese, highlighted the imperative for unified voices to combat the urgent effects of climate change.
‘The Pavilion is really a physical embodiment of our commitment to really be an active sector in climate change work,’ Bishop Andrus stated.
Rabbi Yonatan Neril, executive director of the Interfaith Centre for Sustainable Development, expressed enthusiasm about Pope Francis’ involvement in the inauguration. Neril emphasised the significance of this interfaith movement in addressing the climate emergency.
The Pavilion will host 65 sessions focusing on how major religious groups are contributing to climate change mitigation.
The religions represented in the Faith Pavilion are Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Baha’i, Buddhism, Indigenous religions and Zoroastrianism.
‘Most of the world’s population and many of the political negotiators at the COP affiliate with a religion,’ stated Neril.
‘Yet for the first 27 UN climate conferences, senior religious figures have seldom shown up. At COP28 in Dubai, we have worked to significantly increase the presence of high-level religious leaders and seek to do so at future COPs.’
Sources: Earthbeat, National Catholic Reporter, CathNews NZ