Source: World Council of Churches
At the 19th Conference of Parties (COP19) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Warsaw, Poland, representatives of faith communities called for a just climate deal to be adopted by the UN in 2015. Many observers viewing the event from ethical and spiritual perspectives commented that COP19 concluded without fulfilling expectations of the victims of climate change.
The issue of the impact of climate justice on vulnerable communities was brought into focus during a joint event of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and CIDSE, an international alliance of Catholic development agencies, held alongside COP19 in Warsaw on 21 November.
The participants in the joint event echoed concerns raised by Naderev Yeb Saño, the Philippines’ representative at the UN climate change talks, who called the parties to deliver a meaningful outcome and started a “spiritual fast” that lasted for the two weeks of the negotiations. Held in a context of more than 5,000 casualties and the destruction caused recently by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Saño’s symbolic act of fasting was joined by faith communities in Poland and beyond.
The agreements reached at COP19 proposing a new mechanism to help victims of typhoons, floods, droughts and other impacts of climate change, as well as pledges to the Adaptation Fund of up to 100 million US dollars from developed countries, are still far from being sufficient to respond adequately to the climate crisis.
Faith communities have called to continue the spiritual fast one day per month until the next COP20, to be held in Lima, Peru in December 2014.
In his comments Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the WCC general secretary, said, “the WCC 10th Assembly has recently stressed the urgency of climate crisis in a Minute on Climate Justice. The interfaith fast for climate justice is one concrete way churches and other religious institutions have expressed their concern about the situation and the negotiations at COP 19 in Warsaw.”