His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent a Message to the Secretary-General of the United Nations His Excellency António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, on the occasion of the United Nations International Summit on Climate Action that took place in New York on 23 September 2019, in which he urged all the leaders of the international community to step up their ambition and accelerate progress “toward meeting the decarbonization targets of the Paris Agreement, as well as to begin looking beyond to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s indisputable imperative for net zero emissions as soon as possible.” Also, the Ecumenical Patriarch, known for his initiatives to raise the awareness of the world community about the need to protect the natural environment as part of Creation, in his Message encourages “the world’s economically developed countries to provide the necessary financial support to developing countries in order to facilitate a socially equitable and efficient transition to an environmentally sustainable and climate-friendly course of development. While investment models can be successful, charitable giving must not be overlooked.”
In his Message, the Green Patriarch recalls that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the first Encyclical issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the protection of the environment and since then 1 September of each year has been dedicated as the World Day of Prayer for the protection of Creation. Here is his message:
Your Excellency António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
We are encouraged by the work that Your Excellency has done to combat climate change during your tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations and look forward to the further advancement of the response of the international community to this crisis at the upcoming Climate Action Summit. This noble initiative has the potential to reinforce and enforce a solid framework for a post-carbon era along a socially just pathway to its consequent challenges. We are reminded of the nine symposia we hosted on the environment, two of which were co-hosted with your predecessor, His Excellency Kofi Annan.
In view of the Climate Action Summit, we urge you and all leaders of the international community to increase the ambition and accelerate the progress toward meeting the decarbonization targets of the Paris Agreement, as well as to begin looking beyond to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s indisputable imperative for net zero emissions as soon as possible. Furthermore, we encourage the world’s economically developed countries to provide the necessary financial support to developing countries in order to facilitate a socially equitable and efficient transition to an environmentally sustainable and climate-friendly course of development. While investment models can be successful, charitable giving must not be overlooked.
This year marks the 30th Anniversary since the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s first encyclical on the protection of the environment. Along the way, the Vatican and the Anglican Communion, as well as the World Council of Churches, have embraced and endorsed September 1st as a global day of prayer for the environment. Through our annual encyclicals, we implore the global community to work together to save the planet. We are convinced that governments, universities, businesses, civil society, people of faith and all people of good will must unite behind science in a determined and harmonious effort to save God’s creation from human-induced climate change, which is now threatening the natural world and human livelihoods at an unprecedented scale. Now more than ever humanity must stand above all cultural and other differences – be they national or religious divisions, historic and partisan enmities, economic and personal interests – in order to ensure a bright future for our children and for generations yet to come.
Finally, please know that our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is in General Consultative Status through ECOSOC and represents the Orthodox Church at the United Nations. Thus, we are prepared to partner in advocacy for the protection of our precious environment.
Thanking Your Excellency for your sincere consideration of our request, we convey to you our Patriarchal prayers and best wishes for the climate saving deliberations at the New York Summit on September 23, 2019.
At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the tenth of September, 2019
✠ Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch