The purpose of the United Religions Initiative is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, end religiously motivated violence and create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
For the past ten years, the nations of the world have had an opportunity to restore environmental health to our planet through the implementation of Agenda 21, adopted at the UNCED Conference in Rio de Janeiro in June of 1992.
Despite improved technologies, a better understanding of economic systems and conditions, scientific conferences, and new international treaties to protect the environment, conditions are arguably worse than they were in 1992.
The inability of cultures to change to the sustainable practices required to reach the goals of Agenda 21 is largely due to attitudes of apathy, greed, skepticism, assigning blame, and blind faith in technology alone to find solutions. The result is a sense of hopelessness, that we are doomed to disaster.
Thus, we are facing a crisis of ethical and spiritual dimensions that calls for the engagement of the entire human community, across all lines of religion, nationality or culture. What is needed is a shared vision for Global Healing to motivate citizens of all nations to implement fundamental changes toward sustainability for this generation and generations to come.
We call upon the members of faith communities and NGOs, business and industry, and governments to create a new Culture of Global Healing based on the intrinsic value of nature.
We understand that there can be no peace without justice and no justice without sustainability.
We therefore call upon nations of the world to faithfully implement the principle of Respect for Nature of the UN Millennium Declaration; the call for Sustainable Development found in the UNEP GEO 3 report; and the agreed upon program of the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development.
As people of faith, we support the agenda outlined by UNEP in the book Earth and Faith. As Klaus Topfer states in this publication, "We have entered a new age -- an age where all of us will have to sign a new compact with our environment and enter into the larger community of all living beings. A new sense of our communion with planet Earth must enter our minds." We now call upon world leaders to implement the Earth and Faith agenda and use these principles to guide that implementation in creating a Culture of Global Healing:
1. All life is sacred and has intrinsic value regardless of the value judged by humans
2. Conserving biodiversity is in the best interest of both humans and other species
3. The human population must be stabilized to assure quality of life and to protect the rights of future generations.
4. Economic focus on the quality of and appreciation of life as opposed to standard of living must become a new norm.
5. Each person and segment of a culture has the responsibility to contribute in their own way to building a culture of Global Healing.
To build this new Culture of Global Healing, we call upon a partnership between UNEP and faith communities to develop new leadership to guide this culture change initiative. We encourage partnerships between faith communities and other NGOs, business and industry and indigenous people, each bringing important dimensions to creating the culture of Global Healing.
In addition, we avow our support of documents drafted by international consensus among multi-stakeholder, non-governmental groups, including but not limited to the Charter of the United Religions Initiative and the Earth Charter and the Four Worlds Principles for Building a Harmonious World.
We conclude in re-dedication to the Preamble and Principle 10 of the Charter of the United Religions Initiative, and we urge other groups to join in our pledge:
We unite to heal and protect the Earth.
We unite in responsible cooperative action to bring the wisdom and values of our religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions to bear on the economic, environmental, political and social challenges facing our Earth community.
Principle 10: We act from sound ecological practices to protect and preserve the Earth for both present and future generations.
Endorsed by: URI Global Assembly in Rio de Janeiro - August 23, 2002