KAICIID Director General Calls for Interreligious Cooperation to Protect Our Planet

05 Jun 2018

Athens, 5 June 2018 – The Director General of the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), Fahad Abualnasr, called for the involvement of religious leaders in the dialogue on sustainable development and on interreligious cooperation for the protection of the environment.

The Director General addressed the opening session of the symposium “Toward a Greener Attica: Preserving the Planet and Protecting its People”, organised by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis on behalf of the prime minister, along with many distinguished governmental and civil society leaders.

“The preservation and protection of the natural environment, and the respect and service we pay our fellow humans, are two sides of the same coin”, the Ecumenical Patriarch said. He called for a collaborative response to the ecological crisis that would leave a viable planet and strengthen social justice in coming generations.

“In the public discussion on the ecological crisis, and on the migration crisis, we are faced with the same false choice: a competition for shrinking resources between “us” and “them”, between groups of people that are focusing on their differences instead of their similarities. Through interreligious dialogue, we can demonstrate the benefits of cooperation over competition: instead of fearing difference, we can highlight commonality: instead of conflict, we can work towards shared benefits”, the Director General said.

”Every religion holds dear the protection of God’s creation. Every religion shares values of mercy, coexistence and respect, and the protection of the vulnerable and marginalised. By involving religious leaders in the dialogue on sustainable development, we can restore values and equal citizenship to debates that have been hijacked by divisive politics and agendas”, he added.

The Director General mentioned three principles that guide the Centre’s work on interreligious cooperation: shared ownership of the planet through an emphasis on coexistence, common citizenship, and shared values; the involvement of religious leaders and religious communities as stewards of the shared heritage; and the need for cross-sectoral and inclusive dialogue.

The symposium was a continuation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s efforts to address  the ecological crisis by encouraging collaboration among all sectors of society. The discussion examined  the connections between ecology and economy, bearing in mind forced migration as a severe consequence of worsening climate disruption.