Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Elders, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam's speech during the 'Religions and Climate Change - Southeast Asia' Conference

Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Elders, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam's speech during the 'Religions and Climate Change - Southeast Asia' Conference

- Indonesia, a nation of grandeur not only in terms of its vast expanse and population, but also in its rich historical tapestry, the ethical fabric of its people, its distinctive civilizational and human narrative, and its inspirational odyssey of stability, progress, and harmonious coexistence among diverse faiths and cultures.

- On behalf of the Muslim Council of Elders, of which I have the honor to represent as Secretary-General, I extend my deepest gratitude to this beloved nation, both its leadership and its people, for their unwavering support and warm embrace of the branch of the Muslim Council of Elders.

- The branch of the Muslim Council of Elders in Indonesia operates in close collaboration with Indonesia's governmental, academic, and civic institutions to fulfill the Council's mission and objectives.

- As an autonomous international entity, the Council champions the ideals of coexistence and peace, drawing from the wisdom of religious and community leaders.

- This conference by the Muslim Council of Elders, under the gracious patronage of Indonesia and with the invaluable contributions of our brothers, the religious leaders in the Southeast Asian region, centers around the critical issue of climate change, a challenge we all acknowledge and experience in various facets of our lives.

- There are few countries that engage with the perils of climate change as earnestly as Indonesia, a nation blessed by God with over 94 million hectares of forests, accounting for more than half of the country's total land area, a treasure trove of biodiversity.

- With Indonesia's conscious recognition of the perils of climate change, coupled with its unique experiences and capabilities, it finds itself well-positioned to lead global conversations on the climate, a role of paramount importance, especially this year, as we all anticipate a significant global milestone: the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28).

- This significant global event stands as a collective milestone to assess the efforts made in mitigating the impacts of climate change, elevating the level of awareness about its effects, the overall environmental consciousness, and advancing international efforts and means capable of addressing its challenges. 

- Undoubtedly, the anticipated involvement of the Muslim Council of Elders in this major international event heralds a new phase in tackling climate change, both intellectually and institutionally.

- It also fortifies the presence of religious leaders and institutions, particularly since the Council is set to sponsor the "Faith Pavilion in COP28," the first of its kind in the history of United Nations climate conferences.

- The pavillion serves as a global platform for religious engagement and interfaith dialogue on environmental issues, bolstering its advisory capabilities to refine the COP agendas, devise more ambitious and effective measures against the climate change crisis, and engage religious institutions and leaders in achieving environmental justice.

- In preparation for the impactful and distinguished participation of the Muslim Council of Elders in this crucial global event, an involvement expected to have lasting outcomes related to subsequent conferences on the subject, the Council, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates, and in collaboration with the COP28 Presidency, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Catholic Church, will organize a global summit for religious leaders on climate in Abu Dhabi on the 6th and 7th of November 2023.

- This summit will be attended by a large number of religious leaders and figures representing major religions worldwide, along with academics and environmental experts, some of whom are with us today at this regional climate summit, to discuss the responsibilities of religious leaders in addressing the climate change crisis and the required collaboration between them and decision-makers, policy-makers, and influential actors to address it.

- Our primary goal at the Muslim Council of Elders in organizing this conference is to create a shared vision to address environmental issues.

- This vision is inspired by the precepts of religion, the sagacity of religious and humanitarian figures, operating at the levels of nations, institutions, and community leaders.

- This endeavor will amplify our collective influence in confronting this weighty challenge, one that imperils humanity and the prospects of our progeny, a challenge that transcends all distinctions and divisions.

- Our aspirations are high for tangible outcomes from the forthcoming COP28 conference.

- We hold in high esteem the participation of the Muslim Council of Elders, especially through its sponsorship of a faith pavilion in this event, a first in its history.

- This participation is anticipated to yield positive outcomes for global endeavors aimed at addressing the impacts of climate change.

- In this context, allow me to underscore Indonesia's distinctive stance and its robust response to the challenge of climate change, particularly since H.E. President Joko Widodo has committed to taking steps in preparation to address this phenomenon, including pledging to halt deforestation and reversing this trend by the year 2030.

- The significance of Indonesia's commitment to long-term measures becomes evident in international collaborative efforts against climate change impacts. These measures include developing plant nurseries, rehabilitating natural habitats, and recognizing the importance of natural ecosystems concerning carbon absorption. This is to ensure the production of low-emission products, in addition to adopting a specific roadmap for the energy transition, aiming to reach 31% of renewable energy by 2050, and reducing emissions by 29% by 2030. This target could be raised to 41% provided there is necessary international financial support.

- Indonesia's approach to confronting the impacts of climate change would not have taken shape without a vision that embodies responsibilities shouldered by all human beings, as beings honored by the Creator and entrusted as stewards to reform Earth and maintain its prosperity.

- This vision elevates the role of religious values in achieving balanced development, constructing a just and sustainable economic system. This approach is a model, which we, alongside religious leaders, seek to discuss further and benefit from. It embodies the message we wish to convey through this conference.

- It is the message of religions to the world leaders at the COP28, aiming to build a better world in which our children and all inhabitants of this Earth can thrive for generations to come.



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