Monday, April 12, 2010

Mindanao scholars speak in international confab on Muslim action in climate change

The Muslim world has now become concerned on global warming and climate change because of the more than one billion Muslims, seventy percent live in the East part of the world and in countries which are very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

To respond to this global problem, the Muslim Seven Year Action Plan for Climate Change (M7YAP) was crafted in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2009 for all Muslim countries. Part of this action plan was to convene the First International Conference on Muslim Action on Climate Change in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia last April 9-10.

The objectives of the conference were to raise awareness of communities, stakeholders and decision makers in the Muslim World on the threat of climate change and the need for making responsible actions by Muslim communities in each of the country’s development context and to promote dialogues and interactive learning process in developing strategy and guidelines as well as coordinated program of actions by the Muslim communities all over the world on how to deal with climate change issues.

Some 200 environment experts, academics and clerics from 30 countries with Moslem population, such as the United Arab Emirates, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, India, Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Egypt, Britain, Indonesia and the Philippines attended this conference.

From the Philippines, Amina Rasul, the Lead Convenor of the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy and Dr. Filemon G. Romero, Professor of Oceanography of Environmental Science of the Mindanao State University in Tawi-Tawi were invited as resource persons.

Rasul talked on the Philippine Initiatives on Climate Change: Actions Needed for Muslim Mindanao while Romero presented a paper entitled “Institutionalizing Education for Sustainable Development in Muslim Communities, Philippines: Tawi-Tawi in Focus”.

Among the major agreements in the conference were to promote collaboration among Muslim countries by mobilizing scientists to conduct research on climate change and environmental sustainability; train the ulamas or religious leaders on knowledge on climate change for them to propagate as khutbas their congregations; promote a special curriculum on environmental issues in Islamic schools or madrasas from elementary to university level. It was also agreed that a position paper be submitted to the OIC to put pressure on the international community to deal with global warming.

Another highlight of this conference was the declaration of Bogor City in Indonesia as the first Islamic Green city or Al Khaer City in the world.

The conference was held in cooperation with several private organizations, such as Muhammadiyah, Nahdlatul Ulama, the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, the Kehati Foundation and the Conservation International Indonesia with support from the ministries of forestry, environment, religious affairs and the Bogor city administration, the National Council on Climate Change and the Earth Mate Dialogue Center based in London.

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