New guide equips religious leaders to better protect rainforests
In December 2019, one alliance managed a landmark move in Peru - it brought together political, religious and indigenous leaders to sign a “Forest Pledge” to develop stronger national policy to protect the country’s Amazon forest.
How did it get done? You might call it an act of God.
A workshop held last December by IRI Peru brought together faith leaders and representatives of indigenous communities. Photo by IRI Peru
The events last December were convened by the Peruvian program of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative (IRI) an international alliance launched in 2017 to mobilize religious leaders to defend rainforests, through collaboration with indigenous communities, local groups, and advocates for rainforest protection.
IRI Peru’s strategy went deeper than the Forest Pledge. Earlier in 2019, the alliance brought members of Congress to a roundtable with national religious and indigenous leaders to audit Peru’s progress meeting its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement; and protect forest defenders by ratifying the Escazú Agreement.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides the secretariat for IRI and also works closely with global interfaith partners to equip religious practitioners with the latest data, science, and research on forests and indigenous communities, so they can be partners in the fight to defend forests and their guardians.
The Resource Guide
This week, on 29 June 2020, IRI released a Resource Guide on Rainforest Protection for Religious Communities.Fusing research from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with spiritual guidance from religious thinkers across ten different traditions, the Resource Guide seeks to merge the scientific and moral urgency of protecting Earth’s remaining rainforests into a call to action and a instruction manual on where religious leaders can begin.
The Resource Guide is part of a growing library of materials that UNEP and the IRI partnership have developed for religious leaders and faith communities on rainforests, climate change, and the rights of indigenous peoples.
Others include country primers on deforestation, issue briefs on subjects such as tropical forest conservation and engaging indigenous communities, faith toolkits and an upcoming primer on pandemics. These can be found on the IRI website.
IRI has programs in five countries that that together contain more than 70 per cent of the world’s remaining tropical forests - Peru, Colombia, Indonesia, Brazil, and Democratic Republic of Congo. IRI has already trained thousands of religious leaders on protect rainforests. Projects include:
Critical to the world’s rainforests are the indigenous and local communities who live in the forests and have been their greatest caretakers for countless generations. Engaging indigenous communities is especially important now, as COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerability of forest communities to pandemics.
From the start, IRI’s work has been built on partnership with indigenous and forest communities. Each declaration and national political strategy is developed in consultation with indigenous representatives.
As a Peruvian politician told members of IRI Peru after that workshop in December: “Consensus has seemed impossible in the country for a long time. But when we see faith leaders and indigenous leaders come together with such determination and unity about an issue, we simply cannot say no.”
Source: UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
<저작권자 ⓒ GECPO-Green News 무단전재 및 재배포 금지>
많이 본 기사