Abu Dhabi to host global summit for faith leaders to address climate crisis ahead of COP28

ABU DHABI, 6th September, 2023 (WAM) -- A global summit for faith leaders from around the world will take place in Abu Dhabi from 6th to 7th November, to underscore the crucial role of faith communities in addressing climate change. The summit will take place ahead of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28), which will be hosted by the UAE from 30th November to 12th December 2023.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the event will be organised by the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE) under Chairman, His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb. The summit will be hosted in collaboration with the COP28 Presidency, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Catholic Church.

Faith leaders representing the world’s major religions, academics, and environmental experts are expected to attend the two-day event with the aim of discussing the ethical responsibilities of faith leaders in addressing the climate crisis. The meeting will also address the collaboration between faith and science to bridge the gap between empirical evidence and spiritual teachings, discuss strategies for amplifying the voices of religious leaders to enhance climate justice, and highlight ways to engage grassroots communities in achieving sustainable development.

Muslim Council of Elders Secretary-General, Mohamed Abdelsalam, said, “As our world inches closer to irreversible climate damage that can only be addressed through collective effort, the preliminary summit of religious leaders for COP28 comes at a critical moment where scaling up climate action in all sectors of society, eradicating climate change ignorance, and raising awareness of environmental issues have become imperative. The Muslim Council of Elders appreciates the patronage and support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, in this initiative as well as His Highness’ eagerness to support the role religions have in addressing global challenges.”

During COP28, the MCE and the UNEP, in collaboration with the COP28 Presidency, will co-host the Faith Pavilion at COP28, the first pavilion of its kind at a COP event.
Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, Director General and Special Representative of COP28, said, "Inclusion is the foundation of the COP28 Presidency – faith-based communities and organisations play a crucial role in helping the world address climate change. To highlight this, COP28 will be the first COP to host a pavilion dedicated to the engagement of faith communities.

Our goal is to provide a global stage for fostering religious engagement and interfaith dialogue with the aim of inspiring ambitious goals and concrete actions to address the climate crisis."

COP28 UAE will take place at Expo City Dubai and 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.