‘Faith Pavilion’ introduced for COP28

Faith Pavilion

The upcoming 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates is set to host its inaugural ‘Faith Pavilion’, featuring a keynote address by Pope Francis.

Scheduled from 30 November to 12 December, this gathering of global political leaders assessing climate change will include a strong presence of religious figures.

Pope Francis, both a head of state and the leader of the Catholic Church worldwide, will inaugurate the event and deliver a speech during his stay in Dubai from 1-3 December, as reported by Vatican News.

The Faith Pavilion, co-hosted by the UN Environmental Program, the Muslim Council of Elders and various faith-based groups, will serve as a hub for religious communities to address climate change collectively.

Bishop Marc Andrus, leader of the Bay Area-based diocese, highlighted the imperative for unified voices to combat the urgent effects of climate change.

“The Pavilion is really a physical embodiment of our commitment to really be an active sector in climate change work” Bishop Andrus stated.

Rabbi Yonatan Neril, executive director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, expressed enthusiasm about Pope Francis’ involvement in the inauguration.

Neril emphasised the significance of this interfaith movement in addressing the climate emergency.

High-level faith leaders

The Pavilion will host 65 sessions focusing on how major religious groups are contributing to climate change mitigation.

The religions represented in the Faith Pavilion are Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Baha’i, Buddhism, Indigenous religions and Zoroastrianism.

High-level faith leaders such as Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis of the United Kingdom and Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, will be among the speakers advocating urgent collaborative action.

“Most of the world’s population and many of the political negotiators at the COPs affiliate with a religion” stated Neril.

“Yet for the first 27 UN climate conferences, senior religious figures have seldom shown up. At COP28 in Dubai, we have worked to significantly increase the presence of high-level religious leaders and seek to do so at future COPs.”


Earthbeat National Catholic Reporter

CathNews New Zealand

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