The Symposium on 17-18 August is seen as a vital platform in ensuring that the Islamic perspective on climate change is heard ahead of the UN Climate Change conference, which has been marked as potentially the “last chance” to save humanity from global warming.

Islamic Relief Worldwide will be co-hosting the Islamic Climate Change Symposium in Istanbul with Islamic Foundation for Ecology & Environmental Sciences (IFEES) and GreenFaith. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation will also be joint collaborators in this major international Symposium. Senior international development policy makers, leaders of faith groups, academics, religious leaders, activists, civil society representatives and other renowned experts from around the world will come together to launch the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change.

A moral imperative to address climate change

The Symposium is a global platform for Muslim leaders and activists to contribute to the negotiation process and mobilise the global faith community. Its aim is to raise awareness within the Muslim world on the dire impact of climate change and to call on the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world to realise the moral imperative of addressing climate change as part of their religious duty.

The Declaration calls for all nations with the greatest responsibility and capacity to lead the way in tackling climate change, for Islamic leaders around the world to pay more heed to the social and ecological responsibilities they have, as they exploit the fast declining resources of the earth by reducing their carbon footprint and phasing out the use of fossil fuels by shifting to 100 per cent renewable sources of energy.

Faith communities must take action

There is a growing movement among the faith communities that supports the view that the climate crisis is also a moral crisis. The adverse impacts of climate change that we have witnessed so far are a clear case for people of faith to examine the underlying moral causes of this phenomenon. It further prompts the faith community to take action to halt the desecration of nature that leads to destruction of creation and human lives. It also presents an opportunity for these communities to bear witness to alternatives to the fossil-fuel addicted economic system to one that meets development goals and is also spiritually fulfilling.

Showcasing global sustainable projects

The Symposium will also showcase examples of best practice in the operation of field based grassroots projects incorporating environmental sustainability, adaptation to climate change impacts, and people-centred solutions, as well as how civil society organisations are mobilising Muslim communities to address climate change from around the Muslim world.

It will furthermore seek specific recommendations for action to be developed to realise this ambitious change in the Muslim world in the lead-up to and after December’s Paris Climate Conference, also known as COP 21.

It is hoped that the Declaration will result in strong commitment from all the participants in order for there to be a strong outcome in Paris. Faith leaders from other faith traditions will be joining the Symposium as a sign of solidarity and to welcome the declaration following the Pope’s Encyclical released in June.

Join us in the Symposium through live stream starting at 9:30am (EEST) on Monday 17 – Tuesday 18 August. Contribute to the conversation and get live updates on social media using #Muslims4Climate and follow us at @IRWorldwide on Twitter

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