United Religions Initiative and United Nations Environment Programme launch the ‘Faith for Earth Councilors Program’

United Religions Initiative and United Nations Environment Programme launch the ‘Faith for Earth Councilors Program’

In partnership with UNEP Faith for Earth Initiative, and the United Religions Initiative’s response to the climate crisis, the UNEP-URI India office seeks to launch the Faith for Earth Councilors Program.  The program offers hands-on training that unites FBOs and collective action for the protection of our Mother Nature.

This Program seeks to create a network of faith leaders, faith-based organizations, and community members who will respond to the urgent, climate-related concerns at the local, regional and national level. The Faith for Earth Councilor Program is a series of online and in-person training to educate and equip faith leaders with the tools and an engagement plan so they effectively communicate with, and inspire others, to respond quickly and effectively to care for Creation.

Designed and conceptualized with the help of civil society groups like Religion Worldand Shristi in India, the training program seeks to build and document an active and inspiring network that models cross-sectorial learning and cultures of peace, justice and healing for all — especially our Mother Earth.  

Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) are a vital, necessary and influential group of actors in attaining the SDGs and changing the current course of climate and societal catastrophe.  On the ground, FBOs provide immediate support and care to people.  Faith Leaders engender the trust of their communities and inspire action that brings social change and transformation to villages and cities around the globe, much of it in alignment with and working toward the SDGs.  When appropriately informed and sufficiently prepared, FBOs invite wide-spread local participation and mass mobilization for broad behavior change, and cultural shifts. 

Faith for Earth Councilor Program

Faith for Earth Councilor Program is an informal support mechanism for Faith for Earth, and is not an official title of UN Environment Programme. 

Who should become a Faith for Earth Councilor? 

A faith leader or member of a FBO who is very interested in caring for Creation, is eager to learn more and build the network is encouraged to get involved. Your Faith for Earth Councilor should be a recognized member within your FBO or community, and is an individual who demonstrates a natural ability to lead.

The Faith for Earth Councilor must show:

  • Commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Respect for all spiritual and religious beliefs
  • Adoption of the principles of “Leave no one behind”
  • Transparency in governance structure and decision-making
  • Interfaith collaboration with mutual acceptance and respect
  • Focus on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs
  • Building bridges between existing knowledge and experience scientifically and spiritually
  • Perform Actions that respect individual and communal beliefs
  • Aim at Transforming people’s behaviors through their spiritual values.

What are the benefits of being a Faith for Earth Councilor?

The Faith for Earth Councilor Program will create an informed and well-prepared team of individuals ready to support and organize their communities in becoming aware of what’s at stake for humans and Nature in the short term, and to take life-affirming action for the long term.  The Faith for Earth Councilors will have the support of their Faith for Earth Councilor peers, as well as resources provided throughout the training, and recognition from their FBO.  Faith for Earth Councilors will learn basic principles of community organizing, and share, with their communities, powerful ways forward by weaving together faith teachings, the SDGs and location-specific environmental education.

In their work together, Faith for Earth Councilors will meet and work collaboratively with many stakeholders, creating valuable relationships.  In the later part of 2021, Faith for Earth Councilors from each project happening concurrently in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), India and Lebanon will share 90 minutes online gathering to exchange best practices and stimulate even greater success in each region and beyond. At the training’s conclusion, Faith for Earth Councilors will be recognized at an event to be determined by each region.

Is there a participation fees?

Faith for Earth Councilor Programme is a voluntary contribution by Partners and FBOs.

What support will our FBO / Faith for Earth Councilor receive from Partners?

In addition to building a diverse network of FBOs, universities and schools, hospitals, government officials and religious leaders to determine potential actions for the protection of the environment, this program will present a Training the Trainer opportunity.

Once trained, what will the Faith for Earth Councilors be expected to do?  

Faith for Earth Councilors will be a resource and point of contact for their FBOs, schools and/or local communities.  Like a “train the trainer” model, the Faith for Earth Councilors will be encouraged to grow grassroots environmental action in their communities (as determined in the training and using the tools provided), and increase the number of engaged people working to reduce global warming and to care for Creation. 

Tentative Roadmap and Timeline (2021)

Stage 1 (February):  Data collection (survey). Collating of the good work on the environment by Faith Based Organisations. Register Here!

Stage 2 (March): Offline (in-person?) cluster meetings in Delhi.  Faith Based leaders and UNEP colleagues will establish the top environmental priorities by weaving together faith teachings, the UN’s SDGs, and location-specific environmental concerns.

Stage 3 (April): Online convening and training. The Faith for Earth Councilor training will create an informed and well-prepared team of individuals ready to support and organize their communities in becoming aware of what’s at stake for humans and Nature in the short term, and to take life-affirming action for the long term.

Stage 4 (April, May): Implementation, Action and Reporting.  Newly trained participants will be encouraged to grow grassroots environmental action in their communities (as determined in the training and using the tools provided), and increase the number of engaged people working to reduce global warming and to care for Creation.

Stage 5 (June): Recognising Faith Based Organisations as Faith for Earth Counselor on World Environment day.

Stage 6 (Going forward): Faith for Earth Councilors are encouraged to continue their vision and good work by expanding the reach of their actions.

How will the Faith for Earth Councilors be most successful?

The Faith for Earth Councilor Program will include suggestions and support for effective ways to foster change and to create lasting impact within communities.  Using faith teachings, the environmental SDGs along with environmental concerns specific to the area, Faith for Earth Councilors will be well-resourced for inviting greater action from their communities.  It will be very important for Faith for Earth Councilors to feel the endorsing support of their religious leaders and those who hold seniority or influence so that the work plans happen with verbal and visible solidarity.

Who else is participating?

A diverse group of faith leaders, students and young activists, government officials, NGOs or other leaders from the community. 

Register to participate in the Faith for Earth Councilor Program.


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