The G20 Interfaith Forum Association was launched in 2014, during Australia’s presidency of the G20. It has progressed from a largely academic gathering timed to coincide with the G20 Summit to a sustained alliance of diverse religious leaders, practitioners from humanitarian, peacebuilding, and development organizations; and scholars.
The underlying purpose is to contribute to and help to shape global agendas through practical and ethical experience and wisdom of the world’s diverse religious communities, which are often absent from global forums. The extensive contributions of the “network of networks” as well as the prophetic voice and leadership of renowned religious leaders can enrich the G20 deliberations and contribute, alongside parallel and often interlinked constituencies to addressing the urgent problems facing the world and its leaders.
Peter Prove, World Council of Churches director of international affairs, served as panelist during the G20 Interfaith Forum discussions, being one of the contributors at the session on Food crisis. Discussion was part of the Forum’s focus on polycrisis, or Interwoven crises impacting the vulnerable.
Ecumenical Patriarch His All Holiness Bartholomew addressed two topics essential to the conference: migration and climate change. “In a spirit of care and compassion for the entire world striving for a sustainable future, we wish to address the relationship between the climate crisis and migration,” he said. “We have dealt extensively with both topics in various international fora for many years.”
He further noted that climate change is pushing endangered species to the brink of extinction. “In the meantime, many migrants have been forced to flee from inhuman and degrading treatment and places where the consequences of climate change wreak chaos and destruction,” he said. “We must not ignore that environmental refugees have not caused climate disruption; however, the actions of others during years of overconsumption have affected these refugees most significantly.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch noted that, unfortunately, war, armed conflicts, poverty, environmental degradation, and climate change have forced people to leave their homelands. “It is logical and natural that most people want to reside and prosper in the country and region where they were born and where their families have dwelled for generations,” he said. "Yet to do so, they require safety, food security, economic opportunity, freedom from environmental distress, and prospects for their children’s futures.”