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News from the Muslim Climate Change Meeting in Bogor, Indonesia

May 4, 2010:

Here is a selection of the press coverage from the International Muslim Conference on Climate Change Issues, held in Bogor last month.

It was the first ever international Muslim conference on climate change, and was a continuation of the agenda of the Muslim Seven Year Action Plan for Climate Change (M7YAP) declared in Istanbul, Turkey, early in June 2009, and part of the ARC/UNDP programme to help religions make long-term plans to protect the living planet. It includes proposals for a more environmentally-aware management of the annual haj, eco-friendly mosques and publishing the Koran with paper from sustainable forests.

Some 200 people from 14 countries (the United Arab Emirates, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Egypt, the UK, France, the US, Spain, the Philippines and Indonesia) attended the Bogor meeting. They included environmental experts, scientists, clerics, organization leaders, NGOs and representatives from Islamic boarding schools.

Both these news reports have been edited.


Bogor is on the slopes of Mount Salak on the island of Java, 50 kilometres south of the capital city Jakarta.

INT'L MUSLIM CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUES BOGOR DECLARATION.

Bogor, W Java, April 10 (ANTARA) A two-day international Muslim conference on climate change ended here on Saturday (April 9) with the issuance of a Bogor Declaration, stressing the need to prevent climate change through education. The conference committee chairman, Ismid Hadad made the remarks here after closing the conference, adding that the conference had adopted policies to deal with climate change. "It essentially must start with education because environmental problems are associated with scientists. We need experts and scientists who can create a way to prevent the environmental impact," he said.

One of the policies issued is the declaration of Bogor as a "sustainable green city" which was signed by the Muslim Association on Climate Change Action (MACCA), Muhammadiyah executive board, the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (KEHATI), Conservation International-Indonesia (CI-Indonesia), and The Microturbine Cogeneration Technology Application Project (MCTAP) and the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT). Link here for the full story.


MUSLIM CLIMATE CHANGE CONFAB RESULTS PROMOTE UNFCC PROGRAMS

By Eliswan Azly

PHOTO: Dibya Pradana
Jakarta, April 10 (ANTARA) The results of a two-day international Muslim conference on climate change in Bogor, West Java, which ended on April 9 and emphasized the need to prevent climate change through education are seen by many as helping the campaigns and programs of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC)

Dr Sofyan Siregar, an observer of the European Islamic University for the Study of Islamic Politics in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in an emailed massage received on Monday, said the conference on climate change hosted by Indonesia should spur and motivate the developed countries in the world to take the same steps with a matching commitment.

Perhaps the issue is still new for Muslim countries to adopt such a policy on climate change, but their commitment to embody the statements made during the conference was likely to be more concrete a way to make people aware of the importance of preserving the environment through education.

Most developed countries - like the US and other participants of UNFCC - were trapped in big differences of opinion because of their different interests which often made the implementation of the agreements they had reached run at a snail's pace.

"Such an impression we have in mind in seeing the UNFCC conference on climate change organized by developed countries is something which has to do with their reluctance to implement their agreements properly," Sofyan said.

The Bogor conference also formed groups of environmentalists from Islamic states who will voice the Muslim movement in climate change at the international level.

The Green Haj

Ahmad Fauzi, the Forestry Ministry's liaison for the conference, said organizers expected to come up with concrete results on how to implement the proposals agreed on in Turkey. He said one of the more ambitious targets was the 'green haj', in which haj pilgrims would be encouraged to minimize and offset their carbon footprints from the pilgrimage. "If each of the 250,000 or so Indonesian haj pilgrims set aside US$10 toward that end, we'd have a $2.5 million fund to combat climate change," Ahmad said.

Another measure for adoption is to phase out the use of plastic bottles throughout the haj. "The idea is for the pilgrims to bring back an understanding of caring for creation as an act of faith," the Action Plan says.

Greater Awareness

Ahmad said the conference would help boost awareness of environmental issues among Muslims at schools and universities, and help draw up guidelines on climate change issues to be distributed among Muslim scholars.

Still to be achieved

The two-day conference, however, failed to set up the proposed Muslim Association on Climate Change Action (MACCA) as an umbrella group to implement the Bogor declaration. The conference also failed to discuss the implementation of the planned environmentally friendly haj. "With or without the MACCA, we will go forward to take action against climate change," Hadad said.

The conference would submit the Bogor declaration to the OIC, which consists of 57 Muslim and Muslim-majority countries. "It is time for the OIC to talk about climate change to put pressure on the international community to deal with global warming," he said.

The conference also agreed to promote collaboration among Muslim countries by mobilizing scientists to conduct research on climate change. Furthermore, Sofyan said Muslim and Muslim-majority countries needed to train their religious leaders on knowledge of climate change for them to propa-gate the values to their congregations. They also agreed to promote a special curriculum on environmental issues in Islamic schools from elementary school to university level.

"The Islamic boarding school system in Indonesia could be used as model to promote best environmental education practices," he said.

There are currently 17,000 such schools in Indonesia. "Some 900 schools have applied eco-friendly practices by managing water, waste and energy and instilling curriculum with environmental subjects," member of the eco-pesantren team Mardhani Djuhri said.

The director of the Center for Civilization Dialogue at the University of Malaya, Azizan Baharuddin, acknowledged the crucial role of education in achieving sustainable development. "The education should raise public awareness on sustainable development," Azizan said.

Mohammad Azmi from Malaysia-based Consumer Association of Penang said that OIC member countries should strengthen their position on international talks on climate change issues. "This conference on Muslims against climate change should come up with strong stance to back up the UNFCC, he said.

"All Muslim countries should be part of the [UNFCC] board to prevent rich nations from killing the Kyoto Protocol," he said. The UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) hosts annual conferences on climate change to discuss issues including emissions cuts targets to tackle climate change. Link here for the full story.

Other links:

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta Globe - Green living hits home

Jakarta Globe - Education the key

Visa News

Mindanao Examiner, the Philippines

Stop Global Warming

Antara

IPS News

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