The Global Faith for Nature Conference was initiated by the Icelandic government in May this year, which was designed to lay the foundation for inter-faith collaboration for sustainable and regenerative development to achieve the SDGs. The Faith for Nature Conference was convened 5-8 October 2020 and used the historic Skálholt Cathedral in the South of Iceland as its global anchor from where high-level sessions were livestreamed. It achieved a global reach through online dialogues in five regions (Asia and Australia, Africa, Europe, North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean). The conference web site http://faithfornature.org provides a record of the proceedings, documentation, and conference outcomes.
The Global online conference was convened and supported by a number of partners including The Icelandic Government, Soil Conservation Service of Iceland, United Nations Association of Iceland, The United Nations Environment Program, Religions for Peace, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, along with representatives of diverse Religious communities from around the world.
The Faith for Nature Conference’s objectives focused on identifying the relevance and way forward in mobilising values, ethics, spirituality and faith-based action to achieve the SDGs. The conference also aimed to empower faith-based organisations in taking action for the SDGs and to cooperate for sustainable and regenerative development, with a view to endorsing the establishment of a global Faith for Earth Coalition.
The Global agenda and its speakers may be found here. In addition, each region facilitated its own discussions and the European Council of Religious Leaders convened participatory discussions on the 6th and 7th of October.
The European hub sessions, organised by the European Council of Religious Leaders (Religions for Peace Europe) ran in conjunction with the main conference, were divided into three sessions. The themes which these sessions considered, included 1) The contribution of values, ethics, spirituality and faith-based action as drivers for sustainable and regenerative development to achieve the SDGs. 2) Challenges for FBOs in contributing to the SDGs, and finally 3) The way forward for FBOs to work for the SDGs. This allowed participants to delve into the topics in greater detail and take relevant notes. The European Hub discussions were fed back in to the global programme both through verbal and written reports. We thank all those who contributed to the European Hub discussions, which included diverse religions and nationalities across Europe.
Thursday 8th of October was the launch of the Sacred Commitment Declaration. which is a communique with a message from all major faiths to other international fora, including the Arctic Circle and COP 26. On the basis of the discussions and its findings, the conference will be proposing a draft resolution for the Fifth Session of the UN Environment Assembly, making it the first UN resolution on the role of faith for sustainability.
Alongside the considerable number of speakers hosted by the Global Program, The European Hub sessions hosted several of its own speakers, we thank Radha Krishna Das, a member of the Board of GEN – Europe (Global Ecovillage Network), Jamie Creswell, Vice President of the European Council of Religious Leaders, Chair of RfP UK, Trustee of Faith for the Climate. And Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, an award-winning human rights advocate, lecturer, writer, environmental activist and founding member of Green Cross International.
We also thank the following people who moderated, facilitated and organised the European sessions: Ravinder Kaur Nijjar (EWoF, RfP UK) Emina Frljak, Lejla Hasandedic, Dr Mark Owen, Olivia Fuchs, Natia Tsintsadze, Daniel Eror, Giorgia Lee and Rebecca Bellamy.