Faith leaders from around the world have gathered in Abu Dhabi for a worldwide conference on climate change ahead of the COP28 gathering in Dubai next month.
The summit, organised by the Muslim Council of Elders in partnership with the COP28 Presidency, the UN Environment Programme, and the Holy See, aims to debate faith leaders' ethical responsibility in tackling the climate problem.
Leading representatives from the world's major religious traditions will also speak about the collaboration of faith and science, strategies for amplifying religious leaders' voices, and ways to involve grassroots communities in achieving sustainable development.
Academics, environmental specialists, and advocates, as well as representatives from youth, women, and indigenous groups, will join them.
"Everyone recognises the fact that the threat of climate change has become a reality, and a very tangible reality felt by different communities on a daily basis," said Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam in an interview with Vatican News.
"That's why - and understanding it as one of the dangerous, and the most dangerous crises in our modern time - we have thought about this initiative to provide an international platform for faith leaders to come together and to reflect and to discuss together and to send a unified cry against climate change crisis and to contribute to addressing this global threat to humanity," he went on to say.
The Summit, which will take place on November 6-7, will include calls to action from climate change campaigners, as well as conversations about faith and sustainability and faith for planetary resurrection.
Participants at the summit are also scheduled to release a unified religion declaration on climate action, with the goal of harnessing the combined influence of religious leaders, communities, and institutions to urge humanity to promote climate justice.
The summit's significance, according to Judge Abdelsalam, "is to address a very important, unified, strong message to the heads of state and political leaders" who will attend COP28.
According to him, the Summit will "highlight the role religious leaders can play in mobilising their communities and different parts of the world to be united and to realise the various aspects and detrimental impacts of climate change, as well as to promote and advance global climate action together."
COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber stated ahead of the Faith Leaders Summit, "Inclusion is at the heart of our COP Presidency - faith-based communities and organisations play a critical role in helping the world address climate change." We want to make sure that COP28 reinforces global religious leaders' call to action to many of the world's communities to drive and engage in climate action."
During a visit to the Vatican last month, Dr. Al Jaber expressed gratitude to Pope Francis for his "unwavering advocacy for positive climate change to advance human progress."
Pope Francis stated last week that he would travel to Dubai to attend the COP28 conference.
During the meeting, the Muslim Council of Elders, in collaboration with the Holy See, the COP28 presidency, UNEP, and a number of faith partners, will sponsor a first-of-its-kind "Faith Pavilion" that will serve as a central hub for fostering interfaith collaboration and engagement, with the ultimate goal of spurring effective and ambitious climate change action.