UNEP Report Explores Nexus between Environment, Religion and Culture
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A report, 'Environment, Religion and Culture in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,' published by UN Environment (UNEP), with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Department of the Environment, Iran, provides examples of how culture and religion underpin environmental protection and elaborates on an integrated approach to achieving sustainable development.

Environment Religion and Culture in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable DevelopmentOctober 2016: A report, titled ‘Environment, Religion and Culture in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’ published by UN Environment (UNEP) in collaboration with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Department of the Environment, Iran, provides examples of how culture and religion underpin environmental protection and elaborates on an integrated approach to achieving sustainable development.

The report was developed as a discussion note for the ‘Second International Seminar on Environment, Culture and Religion – Promoting Intercultural Dialogue for Sustainable Development,’ which took place from 23-24 April 2016, in Tehran, Iran. It includes a summary of outcomes from the Seminar. The report describes the “Five P’s” of people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership as critical to successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and discusses: the inter-linkages among the different religions; religion, culture and the environment; and the environment and the socioeconomic dimensions of sustainable development. The publication relays how religion and culture interpret the Five P’s, which it notes are interrelated and interconnected, and provides examples of how some faith-based and nongovernmental organizations address them. It also urges religious and cultural leaders and organizations to actively engage in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their communities and in cooperation with each other by leveraging the “financial, moral and ethical influence at their disposal.”

The Seminar for which the report was developed aimed to: identify, analyze and discuss the religious, ethical, cultural and environmental elements of the 2030 Agenda; explore the role of religion and culture in implementing the SDGs; encourage partnerships; and facilitate inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue on finding solutions to environmental issues. Seminar recommendations urged religious leaders and faith-based organizations to promote a culture of peace as a prerequisite for implementing the SDGs. They called on governments to make culture central to solving environmental challenges, and asked world leaders and UNESCO and UNEP member States to establish international partnerships to develop and include new mechanisms in the 2030 Agenda with emphasis on faith-based initiatives and interventions. Recommendations also called on religious scholars to continue engaging in dialogue with the scientific community to support the “progressive evolution of religious thinking and scientific discovery” and to develop a comprehensive sustainable development discourse.

The report has an annex that includes declarations and statements from major religions and cultural leaders regarding the SDGs and climate change, among others. [UNEP Knowledge Repository] [Environment, Religion and Culture in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development]

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