COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber addressed the Global Faith Leaders' Summit in Abu Dhabi, received the Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement on climate change from faith leaders and promised to carry their message forward to the world at COP28.
The Faith Leaders' Summit was convened under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and was attended by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence; His Eminence Professor Mohamed Al Duwani Deputy of Al Azhar Al Sharif representing His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmed Al Tayed, and His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, representing His Holiness Pope Francis.
Religious leaders, academics and environmental experts participated and António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, gave a video address.
The Global Faith Leaders' Summit brought together 28 faith leaders to sign the 'Confluence of Conscience: Uniting for Planetary Resurgence' known as 'The Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement for COP28', committing to addressing climate change and raising climate ambitions ahead of COP28, which will be held in Dubai at the end of November.
'The Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement for COP28' came after months of collaboration and was signed at the event, which was organized by the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE) in collaboration with the COP28 Presidency, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the UAE Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence.
At his address, Dr. Al Jaber called the document “a powerful statement of intent that the whole world needs to hear.” It was, he said, “a statement of urgency, unity, solidarity, responsibility and hope.”
Addressing diverse faith leaders, Dr. Al Jaber said, “You combine all faiths around a single message of our shared humanity. You are the custodians of the beliefs and aspirations of the vast majority of everyone living on the planet, and you are a powerful voice for many communities that are not heard. Your collective faith continues to inspire all people to live in harmony with nature and to act to protect our fragile world.”
Dr. Al Jaber added, “You have brought together diverse faiths around a common goal, and have shown that in a divided world, we can unite around climate action.”
The Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement “demands transformative action to keep 1.5°C within reach and serve affected and vulnerable communities.”
The signatories acknowledged that as “representatives of diverse faith and indigenous traditions” they were meeting to express “shared concern for the escalating climate impacts that imperil our cherished planet, as well as our common commitment to jointly address the global crisis.”
The Faith Leaders' Summit came two days after an “extraordinary meeting” in Abu Dhabi around the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund, which will help vulnerable people recover from climate disasters.
“I am pleased to report that we are one step closer to delivering a fully operational fund,” Dr. Al Jaber said, “Parties came together in unity and solidarity to show multilateralism can still work for everyone, especially the most vulnerable.”
Dr. Al Jaber said that COP28 was “a moment of truth for the world to align around ambitious negotiated outcomes for every nation, every faith, every community, every family and every single person living on this planet.”
Dr. Sultan called for faith leaders to help him, “send a message of tolerance, peace, optimism and prosperity from the UAE to the world.”
The COP28 Presidency has developed a four-point Action Plan to keep 1.5°C within reach and ensure nobody is left behind. These four-points are fast-tracking a just and orderly energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people, nature, lives and livelihoods, and underpinning everything with full inclusivity.
Speaking on inclusivity, Dr. Al Jaber said, “Inclusivity will be the defining hallmark of COP28, because we in the UAE know that progress is powered by partnership, and that success is secured through solidarity. That is why I am so grateful for today’s declaration.”
The focus on inclusion was central to the Statement which called on “inclusive dialogue, during and beyond COPs, with faith leaders, vulnerable groups, youth, women’s organizations, and the scientific community to forge alliances that strengthen sustainable development.”
A Changemakers Majlis, titled 'Faith and Science: Actioning an Ethic of Care for the Environment' was also held during the summit and united faith leaders, scientists, and decision-makers to foster knowledge sharing and trust-building for a more secure and sustainable world.
Majlis, which is an Arabic term that means sitting room, or a place where people come together to discuss shared interests, serves an important role both in the home and for business meetings in the UAE and the Arab world.
In his role as COP28 President Dr. Al Jaber met with Pope Francis in October and discussed the role faith communities can play in addressing climate change.
During COP28 the Presidency will co-host the Faith Pavilion, with MCE and UNEP, marking the first-ever pavilion of its kind at a COP event. The Pavilion will be dedicated to the engagement of faith communities and will showcase 'the Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement for COP28'.
The Faith Pavilion will host panels with religious leaders, scientists, and political leaders, as well as encourage intergenerational engaging dialogue young faith leaders and indigenous representatives.
The Statement was signed by the following:
Notes to Editors COP28 UAE:
• 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.