Updated: Dec 18, 2020
Inter-religious Dialogue on Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation Islander Center, Sewalanka Foundation Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, 23-27 September 2012 The Inter-religious Dialogue on Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation was held in Sri Lanka from the 23 to 27 September 2012 through the collaborative efforts of INEB (International Network of Engaged Buddhists), Sewalanka Foundation, IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and CEESP (Commission on Environmental Economic and Social Policy). Drawing from the African experience of the “We Have Faith” inter-religious campaign represented at the 17th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 17) in Durban, South Africa, a faith-based conference was proposed for the Asian region, expanding beyond INEB’s Buddhist focus to collaborate across different faith traditions in order to bring the voice of morality and ethics of human behaviour into dialogue and identify cooperative actions on climate change. Over 150 people representing 20 countries from Asia and across the planet from Buddhist, Hindu, Baha’i, Christian (Catholic and Protestant), Asian animists/ naturalists from Sri Lanka (Vedda) and Vietnam, and Islamic faith traditions, gathered at Sewalanka’s peaceful Islander Center, which itself provides a unique model for sustainable living, community cross-cultural and interfaith relationship building, and biodiversity regeneration in an area scarred by the impacts of war and extremes of unpredictable climate patterns. Here, faith leaders, environmental and climate scientists, conservationists and social activists from across the region converged to collaboratively explore the scientic foundations of climate change and biodiversity loss, its social, political and economic drivers, the impacts of climate change on human societies and the environment, and importantly, the underlying human behaviours which contribute to climate change. Together, a common understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change was articulated. Discussion evolved from an exploration of the human drivers of climate change, which are integrally tied to an overuse/abuse of fossil fuels and extractive industries, and a failure to reduce their continued exploitation. Over-consumption and greed, profit-seeking, extreme socio-economic inequalities and lack of educational opportunities are entrenched in our social systems, yet solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss are rooted in the same paradigmatic thinking that has led us to this critical juncture. An emphasis was placed on the urgent need to address inner spiritual values as they relate to our human stewardship and inter-connected care and protection for our natural environment. The prevailing attitudes across faith communities which contribute to a failure of our responsibility towards the living world were critically examined. These attitudes support behaviours and actions that accelerate and exacerbate our current climate crisis, and contribute to human vulnerability to the increasing impacts of climate change. Structural impasses were also cited as an area that also must be urgently rectied, most alarmingly the absence of an international binding agreement for reduction of Green House Gas emissions (GHG). The identification of these key issues rose up through a group analysis of cause and effects, from scientific, political, experiential and spiritual perspectives, inspiring a committed and collective faith-based response. This response recognizes the need to move beyond personal affiliations and identities, towards a cooperative action that embraces solutions embedded within faith values, ecological ethics and climate science.
AUSTRIA Strategic Leadership towards Sustainable Development BANGLADESH Bangladesh Association for Sustainable Development (BASD) CAMBODIA The NGO Forum on Cambodia Oddar Meanchey American Friends Service Committee Mlup Baitong Buddhist Association for Environmental Development Dhammayietra CHINA China University of Political Science and Law HUNGARY Strategic Leadership towards Sustainable Development INDIA Youth Buddhist Society of India Mahabodhi International Meditation Center GAIA Zero Waste, Thanal Foundation of His Sacred Majesty Fo Guang Shan - Delhi Deer Park Institute Sacred Earth Trust Mahabodhi International Center, Ladakh AV India Group Fire"ies Intercultural Centre INDONESIA Islamic Forum Solidalitas Perempuan Universitas Pararra Community Empowerment Council of Central Board of Muhammadiyah JAPAN Global Ecovillage Network in Oceania and Asia Juko-in Temple Edogawa Citizen’s Network for Thinking about Global Warming (ECNG) Niwano Peace Foundation Japan Network of Engaged Buddhists KENYA Kenya Youth Climate Network LAOS Participatory Development Training Center Love Natural Resources Association Lao Buddhism for Development MALAYSIA Wayang Alternative Media MYANMAR Naytha Monastery Water, Research and Training Centre (WRTC) Asia Light Foundation Gaia Sustainable Management Institute Myanmar Resource Foundation Alein Eing Christian Media Yangon Technological University Karen Rural Development Organization Socially Engaged Monastic Schools Kalayana Mitta Foundation Metta Development Foundation NEPAL WWF Nepal NEW ZEALAND Waikato University SOUTH AFRICA TILCEPA Chair– IUCN We Have Faith campaign Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute World Future Council Foundation, African office SOUTH KOREA Buddhist NGO Coalition of Gwang-Ju, Chunnam Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism Lotus World The Network of Buddhist Civil Society Ecobuddha The Good Friends Lotus World Korean Buddhist University Federation Namu Counseling Center for Female Rights Buddhist Coalition for Economic Justice SRI LANKA American Mission – Jaffna and Vavuniya Sri Lanka Nature Group WICPER - Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research Environment Legal Council Centre for Environmental Justice Ministry of Power and Energy Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Sewalanka Foundation Brahma Kumari Trust – Sri Lanka Welthungerhilfe – Sri Lanka Institute of Tropical Studies and Conservation Arthacharya Foundation Engaged Buddhists Solidarity for Nature Muslim Education Council INEB – Sri Lanka Anuradhapura Diocese Baha’i International - Sri Lanka Branch Inter-religious Peace Foundation Vavuniya Hindu Temple Sarvodaya Rainforest Rescue International IUCN – Asia IUCN – Sri Lanka Practical Action – South Asia ECO-V Ocean University of Sri Lanka Ruhunu University University of Sri Jayawardenapura THAILAND Dhamma Drop Foundation INEB – Secretariat Office Spirit in Education Movement Sathirakoses-Nagapadipa Foundation School for Wellbeing- Towards Organic Asia Program Global Ecovillage Network in Oceania and Asia U.S.A. The Bridge Fund Sustainable Transformation VIETNAM Social Policy Ecology Research Institute - SPERI