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European, Latin American church leaders call for climate justice

Group seeks ‘a new international financial and economic architecture’

November 23, 2010

BUDAPEST

The first stage of groundbreaking direct dialogue between the Conference of European Churches (CEC), the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) has produced a statement declaring that "climate justice is a matter of faith."

The consultation — Poverty, Wealth and Ecology in Europe — ended here Nov. 12. It was organized by CEC and the WCC in cooperation with churches in Hungary.

The document — "Budapest Call for Climate Justice" — underlines that the methods of wealth creation and the pursuit of unlimited wealth in rich industrialized countries of Europe often impoverish communities and harm creation as a whole. Challenges of injustice and climate change are interlinked. Social and climate justice belong together.

The document states that "climate justice and therefore both social and ecological values should be a central goal of policy-making. In industrialized countries economic growth should no longer be seen as an aim in itself."

The statement calls for "the redistribution of wealth and sharing of technology between rich countries and poor countries affected by climate change …" as crucial elements of climate justice, in addition to "additional support for climate change mitigation and adaptation."

The statement says the European Union (EU) should stick to its targets to limit greenhouse gas emissions independent of the policies of other large economies — such as the U.S., China and India — and increase efforts for tackling poverty and social exclusion among marginalized migrant communities.  

The statement underlines that "we should build on the Church's mission in society and in harmony with creation. Churches in their different contexts have common but differentiated responsibilities. They need global ecumenical dialogue in order to define these responsibilities and to strengthen each other in living it out."

The document calls for strengthening the churches' work on climate justice and closer cooperation and coordination of this work between the WCC and regional ecumenical organizations. It asks the WCC to put climate justice and poverty eradication as well as the relationship between the two as a priority on the agenda of its 10th General Assembly in South Korea in 2013.  

Noting a similar declaration earlier this year by the Uniting General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches — a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council — participants in the consultation called for a global ecumenical conference "to propose a framework and criteria for a new international financial and economic architecture that is based on principles of economic, social and climate justice."

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