Faith Communities Want their Voices Heard at Climate Change Conference.

By Charles Ogallo

The faith communities in Africa have united to present a united front at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa. Faith communities feel they have a moral obligation to ask the negotiators to look beyond their own countries' selfish interests and, even though it may cost them in economic terms, to come up with a solution for the whole world.

The religious community has also vowed to ensure its voice is heard during the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) to take place in Durban, later this Month.

African faith leaders including South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu have however rallied the faith communities including Youths from around the globe through several activities calling on world governments to take a committed moral stand and reach an agreement to curb climate change, through the ‘We Have Faith Act Now for Justice’ campaign.

"We, the people of the world, have lost our moral compass, and reduce all economic decisions to maximising profit and consumption, and so as faith communities we must renew our commitment to compassion for other living beings and the principle of justice” Says the leaders.

They are hosting a serious of event, concerts, rallies and actions throughout Africa, linked together by a convoy of buses traveling from Kenya to South Africa to get the message across that COP17 must deliver a fair and ambitious climate treaty that secures the future of the continent.

The idea came from two meetings of representatives of religious organizations from across Southern Africa gathered in Lusaka, Zambia, from 5-6 May 2011, and in Nairobi, Kenya, from 7th to 8th June 2011, where discussion on the response of faith communities to climate change and their response to the UN climate change negotiations in Durban, COP 17 was reached.

South African Interfaith leaders have already signed "We Have Faith" climate petitions a heard of the Durban Conference , in which they demand action and not just talk from this year's COP17.

They called on COP17 negotiators to treat the Earth with respect, resist disorder and live in peace with each other, including embracing a legally binding climate treaty. Calling on Africa to unite, and with one voice speak out for the justice of the poor in Africa and beyond!"

COP 17, or the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties will be run by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa in November and December 2011. The conference aims to negotiate an international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions to prevent worsening global warming and climate change.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Durban 2011, brings together representatives of the world's governments, international organizations and civil society. The discussions will seek to advance, in a balanced fashion, the implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the Bali Action Plan, agreed at COP 13 in 2007, and the Cancun Agreements, reached at COP 16 last December.


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