His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb and His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, today signed a declaration of support for urgent climate action, on the sidelines of their virtual participation in the opening of the Faith Pavilion at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Expo City Dubai.

Video messages from Pope Francis and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb were broadcast to delegates at COP28, giving messages of urgency and hope for robust climate action.

The Pope and Grand Imam then signed the interfaith statement on climate action for COP28, also known as ‘The Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement for COP28’, designed to harness the collective influence of religious representatives to inspire humanity to advance environmental justice, in recognition that the vast majority of the global population identifies with a religion.

Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders said, “The first-ever Faith Pavilion at COP28 is a place of peace and cooperation for all - bringing together the wisdom of religions at COP28.”

He added that the signing of the Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement for COP28, by representatives of various religions and beliefs, sends a strong message to policymakers about the importance of mobilising faith communities to raise awareness about the climate crisis.

The statement has also been signed by faith and spiritual leaders from around the world, representing Anglicans, Bahá’is, Bohras, Buddhists, Coptic Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Evangelicals, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Mahikaris, Mandaeans, Protestants, Roman Catholics, Shia Muslims, Sikhs, and Sunni Muslims.

In the statement, the faith leaders also committed to supporting the first-ever Faith Pavilion at COP28, where over 300 high-profile faith leaders and public figures are taking part across 70+ sessions fostering meaningful interfaith collaboration and engagement, to catalyse effective and ambitious climate action. The space will host dialogues and sessions promoting climate justice collaboration among religious and Indigenous representatives, scientists, young people, and political leaders.