Religious sector outlines COP17 plans

Monday, November 7, 2011

Durban - The religious community in Africa will ensure its voice is heard during the 17th Conference of the Parties to the US Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) to take place in Durban later this month.

African faith leaders and communities, including South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, intend on participating in several activities calling on world governments to take a committed moral stand and reach an agreement to curb climate change, through their We Have Faith campaign.

The campaign is made up of four elements - the first is through petitions that are making their rounds across Africa. Faith communities are collecting signed "Have Faith - Act Now" petitions, which will be handed over at a mass rally in Durban.

The petition - which can be signed online ( - includes three key demands for COP 17 made by the movement:

- Commit to a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement, and to a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, to ensure the survival of coming generations.
- Set clear short- and long-term targets for carbon emission reductions that keep average global temperature increases well below 1.5�C, and to support solutions that contribute to healing the earth.
- Ensure there is adequate finance for adaption in Africa. Such finance should come from historically polluting nations in recognition of their ecological debt and be additional to existing development aid, governed exclusively and equitably under the United Nations.

An Act Now youth caravan left Nairobi for Durban on Sunday, raising awareness and collecting petitions along the way through concerts and road shows.

The caravan campaigners will also participate in the interfaith mass rally attended by African religious leaders as well as government officials.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change executive director Christiana Figueres have indicated that they will be present at the event.

The rally will take place on 27 November at the King's Park Stadium and will be hosted by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. It is also here that the petitions will be handed to decision makers attending the COP17 talks.

Finally, there will also be a Day of Prayer on 4 December, at which faith constituencies across Africa and the world will pray for a just outcome of the COP17 talks.