Representatives of the world’s religions gathered in Germany have committed themselves “to advancing shared well-being by preventing and transforming violent conflicts, promoting just and harmonious societies, nurturing sustainable and integral human development, and protecting the earth”.

Driving the news

900 men, women and young people from 125 countries gathered last week in the German city of Lindau for the 10th World Assembly of ‘Religions for Peace’, the world’s most representative interfaith gathering.

At the conclusion of the Assembly Friday, participants issued a declaration calling on humanity to “shared responsibility for our common good, care for one another, the earth, and its entire web of life”.

“The crushing weight of extreme poverty”, the world’s refugee crisis, “a terrifying new arms race”, “the cataclysmic heating of the earth”, the “‘meta-crisis’ of the modern order”, the epidemic of “fake news”, “the narcissism of mindless consumerism”… all these problems of our modern world require “urgent action”, delegates warned.

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“We commit to continued common action to tackle injustices, including the large scale displacement of persons, and resulting challenges from the migration crises – both for refugees and migrants and the societies where they settle”, Assembly attendees affirmed in their statement, pledging to make the world’s migration emergency “a priority for action”.

“We will lead by example in ‘welcoming the other'”, participants said, committing themselves “to instilling the respect, mutuality, and solidarity that are essential to promote, build, and sustain just, harmonious, and diverse communities”.

The big picture

Beyond their promises to tackle the world’s migrant and refugee crisis, Assembly participants also promised to promote the ideals of “justice, inclusive citizenship, and equal opportunities” set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“We will champion personal accountability for sustainable consumption, the dignity of labor, and equitable distribution of wealth”, participants pledged, also promising to defend freedom of religion, universal education and the leadership of women and youth.

On climate change, Assembly participants also agreed “to educate our religious communities about the dire spiritual and sustainability crisis”.

“We will take action to live ecologically balanced and sustainable lifestyles and advocate for government policies to protect rainforests, defend the rights of Indigenous peoples, and fulfill their pledges to the Paris Agreement on climate change”, the ‘Religions for Peace’ delegates insisted.

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.