Faith-based Organizations Can Help Deliver United Nations Message for Renewed

Full Title: Faith-based Organizations Can Help Deliver United Nations Message for Renewed:
Cooperation to Tackle Climate Change, Other Crises, Secretary-General Says

October 26, 2009
United Nations

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Under-Secretary-General Vijay Nambiar, Chef de Cabinet, to the Ninth Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the United Nations Community, presided over by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in New York, today, 26 October:

I send greetings to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and to all the participants in this annual prayer service.

As a secular organization, the United Nations has no common religion.  But as humanitarians we, too, like all major faiths, work on behalf of the weak, the disadvantaged, and those who are vulnerable to violence, disease and disaster.  And we share the same ethical foundation:  a belief in the inherent dignity of all individuals. 

If ever there were a time for unity among religions and peoples, it is now.  We must be united in purpose, united in action.  Our world is beset by multiple crises.  Volatile energy prices, food insecurity, the flu pandemic, the global recession and climate change all demonstrate how closely our fates are linked.  Such challenges demand our full collaboration -- all nations and peoples working together for common solutions.  They demand a renewed multilateralism.

Multilateralism is not just about Governments.  It is about all of us:  individuals, businesses, civil society and faith-based organizations in every region.  We all have a stake in our common future.  Multilateral cooperation, founded on common but differentiated responsibilities, can help us to address climate change and our many other challenges. 

In just six weeks, Governments will meet in Copenhagen to find a way forward on climate change.  The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and assist the most vulnerable to adapt to inevitable climate impacts.  Copenhagen provides a unique opportunity to prevent further damage to our common home and to define a more sustainable relationship with our planet.

I urge you to make your voices heard loud and clear in the coming weeks.  We need a global climate deal that is comprehensive, equitable and ambitious -- one that involves all countries working towards a long-term goal to limit global temperature rise to safe levels consistent with science.

I have called on the industrialized countries to take the first steps forward.  Reasons of equity and historical responsibility require no less.  But all countries must do more.  Political leaders must understand that the public expects action now.  Faith communities can help to deliver this message.  Let us work together for a safer, healthier more equitable future for all.