Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Islamic Declaration on Climate Change Calls on 1.6 Billion Muslims to Take Action

The International Islamic Climate Change Symposium is co-hosted by Islamic Relief Worldwide, GreenFaith and the Islamic Forum for Ecology & Environmental Sciences (IFEES). Influential Muslim leaders including religious leaders, activists, academics, policy makers and civil society representatives from around the world are coming together ahead of the UN Climate Change conference in December in Paris to officially launch the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change.

The Symposium is a global platform for Muslim leaders and activists to contribute to the negotiation process and mobilise the global faith community. Its aim is to raise awareness within the Muslim world on the dire impact of climate change and to call on the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world to realise the moral imperative of addressing climate change as part of their religious duty.

The Declaration calls for all nations with the greatest responsibility and capacity to lead the way in tackling climate change, for Islamic leaders around the world to pay more heed to the social and ecological responsibilities they have as they exploit the fast declining resources of the earth by reducing their carbon footprint and phasing out the use of fossil fuels by shifting to 100% renewable sources of energy. 

There is a growing movement among the faith communities that supports the view that the climate crisis is also a moral crisis. The adverse impacts of climate change that we have witnessed so far are a clear case for people of faith to examine the underlying moral causes of this phenomenon. It further prompts the faith community to take action to halt the desecration of nature that leads to destruction of creation and human lives. It also presents an opportunity for these communities to bear witness to alternatives to the fossil-fuel addicted economic system to one that meets development goals and is also spiritually fulfilling.

The Symposium will also showcase examples of best practice in the operation of field based grassroots projects incorporating environmental sustainability, adaptation to climate change impacts, and people-centred solutions, as well as how civil society organisations are mobilising Muslim communities to address climate change from around the Muslim world. It will furthermore seek specific recommendations for action to be developed to realise this ambitious change in the Muslim world in the lead-up to, and after COP 21.

It is hoped that the Declaration will result in strong commitment from all the participants in order for there to be a strong outcome in Paris. Faith leaders from other faith traditions will be joining the Symposium as a sign of solidarity and to welcome the declaration following the Pope’s Encyclical released in June.