Today, November 4, 2016, the world celebrates the “entry into force” of the historic Paris Climate agreement reached by 196 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last December in Paris at the COP21 conference. On behalf of the tens of thousands of participants in the Parliament of the World’s Religions committed to climate action around the globe, we express our gratitude to all who have participated in achieving this critically important step and pledge ourselves to the important work yet to come.
We begin by offering our special appreciation for the prophetic contributions of iconic religious leaders such as His Holiness Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and numerous leaders from Indigenous Nations.
We express our appreciation also to millions of faithful members of the world’s spiritual traditions who have worked to make this possible. Through diligent work and interfaith cooperation across the globe, these contributors now represent a strong and growing faith-centered contingent of the environmental movement. This has been an important development in moving so many of the world’s nations to this point of consensus and beyond.
The Paris Climate Agreement is a crucial first step in addressing the challenge of human-created climate change. We pledge to work with all other persons of faith and conscience in this ongoing march toward a healed and healing world.
More than 10,000 people from 75 nations and hundreds of unique spiritual expressions gathered at the most recent convening of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah in October 2015. There, thousands of individuals and organizations representing spiritual, civic, policy-oriented, academic and justice interests affirmed the Parliament’s declaration Embracing Our Common Future: An Interfaith Call to Action on Climate Change.
We agreed that our responsibilities include making intentional personal and organizational choices and supporting climate justice actions at every level of decision making.
The celebration of the Paris Climate Agreement coincides with the public launch of the Parliament Task Force on Climate Change that is developing a vigorous agenda leading to the next global convening of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The task force will provide strategic guidance to our actions as a movement to support the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the commitment to policies that address measures not yet endorsed in these international accords. It will also seek to enhance cooperation with a widening slate of faith-based organizations.
The challenges before us are still immense and demand that while taking individual responsibility, we must work together.
We envision a future of spiritual, cultural and scientific partnerships that will allow us to reach new victories in pursuit of the world we want, as articulated in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The Chicago-based Parliament of the World’s Religions is an international nonsectarian NGO recognized as the world’s oldest and most inclusive organization of the global interfaith movement. As conveners of the world’s premier global interfaith event, the Parliament fosters harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and promotes engagement with the guiding institutions in pursuit of a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.
The organization traces its history to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago where the first World Parliament of Religions staged the first global interreligious dialogues in an unprecedented meeting of eastern and western religious luminaries. The landmark event introduced many of the world’s global faith communities into the United States. Continuing in this tradition, the Parliament of the World’s Religions has convened more than 50,000 representatives of spiritual, academic, governmental and civic institutions at six modern Parliaments held in Chicago, USA, Cape Town, South Africa, Barcelona, Spain, Melbourne Australia and Salt Lake City, USA.
News of the date and host city of the next Parliament of the World’s Religions is soon to be announced.