2023 Summary - Muslim Council of Elders Leads Intensive Global Efforts to Enhance the Role of Religious Leaders and Icons in Addressing Climate Challenges

In 2023, the Muslim Council of Elders, under the chairmanship of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, intensified efforts to activate the role of religious leaders in addressing global issues and challenges. The Council aimed to contribute to finding effective and tangible solutions, particularly in addressing the climate issue, amidst the negative repercussions of the climate crisis threatening life on Earth.

Simultaneously, with the United Arab Emirates hosting the twenty-eighth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), the Muslim Council of Elders worked to enhance the role of religious leaders in confronting this existential challenge. The importance of the role of religious leaders and their efforts in addressing the negative impacts of climate change was emphasized during the first meeting of the Joint Committee for Dialogue between the Muslim Council of Elders and the Vatican's Department for Interreligious Dialogue.

The year 2023 witnessed significant global movements to rally the voices of religious leaders against climate change. The Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, conducted several visits to Rome, meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis to discuss launching an initiative to activate the role of religious leaders in addressing climate challenges. The goal was to unify the efforts of leaders from various faiths and sects to achieve climate justice and establish ethical responsibility to preserve Earth as a common home for humanity.

Likewise, 50 young participants from 24 countries attended the second edition of the Emerging Peacemakers Forum, organized by the Muslim Council of Elders in collaboration with the World Council of Churches and the Rose Castle Foundation, which sent a message of hope to COP28. They planted an olive tree and called for environmental peacemakers to work towards protecting life and its natural resources on Earth.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, the Muslim Council of Elders, in collaboration with COP28 Presidency, the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence in the UAE, and the United Nations Environment Programme, organized the Global Summit for Religious Leaders on Climate. Representatives from 18 religions and 30 denominations worldwide, along with scholars, academics, environmental experts, and community representatives, including youth, women, and indigenous peoples, attended the summit. The summit issued the 'Call of Conscience: Abu Dhabi Statement on Climate Action for COP28' which was co-signed by His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb and His Holiness Pope Francis, along with 28 other religious leaders, calling for effective actions to address the climate crisis and preserve the Earth.

The Muslim Council of Elders concluded its activities in 2023 to activate the participation of religious leaders in global climate action and find innovative solutions to address climate issues. This included organizing the Faith Pavilion at COP28, a first in the history of COP conferences, in collaboration with the COP28 Presidency, the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence in the UAE, and the United Nations Environment Programme. The pavilion hosted over 65 dialogue sessions with participation from around 700 international personalities, providing a global platform for interfaith discussions to take ambitious and effective measures that promote environmental justice and preserve the environment for current and future generations.



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