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Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President-designate, met with His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, to discuss the crucial role of faith leaders in advancing the climate agenda at COP28.
COP28 Presidency has collaborated with the Vatican, the Muslim Council of Elders, and the United Nations Environment Programme to ensure inclusivity in the COP process by integrating faith organisations into climate discussions.
Inclusivity is a core pillar of the COP28 Presidency, and it aims to provide a platform where all voices are heard, including faith organisations, especially those focused on assisting vulnerable communities affected by loss and damage.
To further the role of faith communities in the COP process, the COP28 Presidency has designed a series of inter-faith initiatives in the run up to and during the conference.
One of the key initiatives will be a global summit for faith leaders, the Confluence of Conscience, which will take place on November 6-7 in Abu Dhabi.
It will unite hundreds of religious leaders, academics, and scientists to collectively address the findings of the Global Stocktake (GST) and sign a declaration to progress climate action at COP28.
The gathering will discuss the ethical responsibilities of faith leaders in addressing the climate crisis and will call for increased ambition at COP28 and beyond.
The summit will also involve an assessment of actions taken by religious leaders from Paris to COP28, focusing on specific areas to address the gaps highlighted in the COP28 Presidency's Action Agenda, aiming to restore hope in the field of climate action.
Additionally, the COP28 Presidency will also co-host the Faith Pavilion at COP28, marking the first-ever pavilion of its kind at a COP event.
The Faith Pavilion will host panels with religious leaders, scientists, and political leaders, as well as encourage intergenerational dialogue involving young faith leaders and indigenous representatives.
COP28 presents an opportunity to fast-track the energy transition by building the energy system of the future, while rapidly decarbonizing the energy system of today to keep 1.5°C within reach. It also needs to be just, equitable and responsible that ensures universal energy access. The world must triple its renewable energy capacity and achieve near-zero methane emissions by 2030.
During their meeting in Rome, Dr. Al Jaber and Pope Francis discussed the importance of the Global Stocktake and the need for a detailed action plan to provide a robust and comprehensive response to the findings within the key pillars of the Paris Agreement.
"I have been calling for unity in this year of uncertainty and urgency due to the Global Stocktake report. I want, and the world needs, everyone to play their part in addressing the current situation we live in. I believe that we can combine our efforts and take action to emphasize to the world the last opportunity we have at COP28 to raise ambition, course correct, and restore the hope that current and future generations need to see," he said.
The leaders also discussed aligning the Vatican's encyclical letter, Laudate Deum, with the COP28 Interfaith Declaration, set to be signed after the global faith leaders’ summit.
Dr. Al Jaber expressed gratitude to the Vatican for its climate action advocacy and extended an invitation to Pope Francis to join the World Climate Action Summit at COP28.
“I want to thank the Vatican, under your Papacy, for its work in advocating for a higher ambition on climate action and social justice. Your update of the 2015 'Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home' to bring it up to date is truly inspiring. We aim to ensure that COP28 amplifies the call to action from religious leaders, and we plan to do this through the global faith leaders’ summit in Abu Dhabi," Dr. Al Jaber said.
"Without a doubt, your intervention and advocacy for action will inspire millions and will help us raise the ambition at COP28 that we urgently need to course correct. Also, I would like to ask you to send a representative of the Vatican to the global faith leaders’ summit in Abu Dhabi."
The diverse faith and interfaith activities, along with religious organisations, will support the call for a fair and ambitious climate agreement at COP28 and support those working towards it.
COP28 Presidency is working to find real world solutions that close the gaps to 2030 and responding to the first Global Stocktake.
To achieve this, the Presidency's Action Agenda focuses on an ambitious mitigation work program, finalizing the global goal on adaptation, establishing a fund for loss and damage, and reaching an equitable approach to means of implementation.
The four key areas of the Presidency are: fast tracking a just, orderly, and well-managed energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people, lives and livelihoods, and underscoring everything with full inclusivity.
The COP28 Presidency has called on contributing countries to deliver the $100 billion pledge this year. Countries are also urged to double adaptation finance by 2025 and replenish the Green Climate Fund.
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