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WWF on ARC: Religions commit to global land conservation

WWF News: March 2004:

"Our relationship with ARC goes back some 20 years. We have achieved much in the past; now, we are exploring the scope and scale of new initiatives nationally and internationally." Peter Martin, WWF-UK’s Director of Development.

From Manchester to Mongolia, the move to ethical and sustainable lifestyles gathers pace

By Peter Denton

WWF and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) have signed an agreement to develop a template for managing land owned by religious organisations throughout the world. If all goes according to plan, many of the world’s major faiths will meet in Hong Kong in the autumn to endorse and implement the unique global partnership.

ARC is a UK-based organisation that works with the world’s religions on environmental issues, often in partnership with WWF. Martin Palmer, chief executive of ARC and a WWF ambassador, estimates that the 11 faiths own around 7 per cent of the habitable surface of the planet. “Together, they are in the top 10 landowning groups in the world, and the environmental influence they can bring to bear cannot be overstated,” he declared.

The agreement is one of many follow-ups to a ceremony in Nepal three years ago, organised by WWF and ARC. link to Nepal/Kathmandu Amid great pageantry, 11 faiths presented 26 “sacred gifts for a living planet” – practical, serious commitments to improving the planet’s environment.

Common task

Participants in the WWF/ARC agreement are the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Shinto, Taoist and Zoroastrian faiths.
“The religions recognise that they have a common task,” Martin Palmer explained. “They approach that task from different angles, but there’s a common goal – protection of the world’s environment for future generations. And that, of course, moulds perfectly with WWF’s mission.”

For some time now, WWF has been working with the world’s faiths in places as diverse as the UK, Mongolia, Lebanon and Zanzibar. Over the next three years, the partnership will develop restoration programmes ranging from parish churchyards to forests and entire landscapes. WWF and ARC will be working not only with the 11 religions, but also with local and national governments, and with major donors. “We believe that the potential conservation gains are enormous, and would otherwise not be possible,” Martin Palmer said.

Peter Martin, WWF-UK’s Director of Development, agrees. “Our relationship with ARC goes back some 20 years,” he said. “We have achieved much in the past; now, we are exploring the scope and scale of new initiatives nationally and internationally.”



LINK TO OTHER WWF FEATURES ABOUT ARC

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Worldwide move towards socially responsible investment

Church in rebuilt Lebanon plays key environmental role



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