Interfaith Conference On Climate Change

September 18, 2011
All Africa Global Media Date

Indalo Yethu/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX -- The threat of climate change is not just a scientific concern but a profound ethical challenge that demands leadership from all sectors of society.

Africa and its multitude of vulnerable communities will be amongst those hardest hit by the temperature increases, droughts and severe weather events that climate change is already bringing. Yet the continent has yet to meet the needs of all its people. Poverty, unemployment and rampant overconsumption of scarce natural resources are all consequences of the flawed development model that has caused humankind to change the earth's weather patterns to such an extent that life on earth is now threatened.

Taking hands to meet these challenges, the SA Council of Churches, the Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute (SAFCEI) and environmental agency Indalo Yethu are hosting an interfaith conference from tomorrow, Monday 19 September to Wednesday, 21 September, at Botha's Hill near Durban.

The engagement aims to build public understanding of climate issues and mobilisation for a fair, just and binding agreement at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Durban, South Africa from 28 November to 9 December 2011.

The interfaith conference will start a process to consult communities on a South African Climate Justice Charter, incorporating Africa's philosophy about the environment and our aspirations for earth keeping.

The over 100 delegates are also set to engage with a declaration adopted by the Southern African faith leaders' conference in Lusaka and the communique on 'Climate Justice for Sustainable Peace in Africa' from a pan-African meeting of faith leaders on climate change in Nairobi earlier this year.

Faith leaders will add their names to the We Have Faith climate justice petition, based on the Nairobi communique, which has already drawn the support of thousands of people across Africa.

The conference will explore opportunties for faith leaders to champion climate change response actions in particular and sustainable development in general. Faith leaders' participation in Indalo Yethu's climate train initiative to spread awareness of climate challenges among the South African public will be discussed. We aim to inspire individual actions by all South Africans to restore the earth for our children.

Delegates will be addressed by officials from various NGOs and government departments, including a briefing on preparations for COP17 by Peter Lukey of the Department of Environment official. Dr Lisa Ramsay of UKZN will update delegates on the current and future effects of climate change on Africa.

Among the participants will be SACC Rev. Mautji Pataki, General Secretary, SAFCEI executive director Bishop Geoff Davies and Indalo Yethu CEO June Josephs-Langa, as well as Sheik Ridwaan Galant of the Muslim Judicial Council.

The conference will run from supper on Monday 19 to lunch on Wednesday 21 September at the Koinonia Conference Centre, Botha's Hill, KwaZulu-Natal.