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Interfaith Rainforest Initiative

In the presence of His Majesty King Harald V, the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative was launched in Oslo this June, gathering religious leaders and leaders of Indigenous Peoples committed to protecting the rainforest.

The initiative was launched at the Nobel Peace Center in an event hosted by His Excellency Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment.

Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) and partners (see below) invited Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Taoist religious leaders to join forces with representatives of indigenous peoples from Brazil, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Meso-America and Peru.

Faith-based communities stand together

The result is a new, multi-faith initiative where the leaders will work with their communities – and together – to end tropical deforestation.

- This initiative will contribute to increased awareness and appreciation for Indigenous Peoples’ roles in safeguarding the remaining rainforests, says Pak Abdon Nababan, who represented the National Indigenous Peoples' Alliance in Indonesia (AMAN) during the launch.

Among the key outcomes of the meeting was a statement committing participants to the formation of an “international, multi-faith rainforest alliance” that will rally spiritual and religious communities to act for the protection of rainforests and the rights of the indigenous peoples who safeguard them.

Statement from the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative of 21 June

Pak Nababan hopes global religions now will strengthen the support to the advocacy work for legal recognition and protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to forest and land.

He and the other interfaith leaders worked together for two days to plan the future of the initiative. The leaders agreed to make the protection of rainforests a priority for the world’s faith communities. They also identified priority actions, activities and milestones for the initiative.

Follow-up on the national level

Pak Nababan foresees follow-up and action also in Indonesia:

- We need a special facility in Indonesia to intensify inter-faith dialogue and establish a permanent forum as a platform to develop joint studies, campaigns and action oriented projects on forest and land right issues, he says.

About the initiative:

  • The inaugural meeting of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative was organized by Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), Rainforest Foundation Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • The initiatve was launced in partnership with the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University, GreenFaith, Parliament of the World’s Religions, Religions for Peace, REIL Network and the World Council of Churches.
  • The initiative is an open partnership that will welcome contributions and ownership by all organizations, institutions and individuals of good faith and conscience that are committed to the protection, restoration and sustainable management of rainforests.

Participants' statement in PDF