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Religion and Climate Diplomacy in Small Island Developing States


Island states contribute only .03 percent to global emissions, but “nineteen major Caribbean cities are in the bullseye of the climate threat” and Pacific island states such as Kiribati and Tuvalu face an existential threat from sea level rise, said Selwin Hart, Barbados’ ambassador to the Organization of American States and the United States. At the same time, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific and the Caribbean are leading efforts to combat climate change, said experts at the Wilson Center on July 10.

In July 2017 we co-sponsored a public panel discussion on “Religion and Climate Diplomacy in Small Island Developing States,” hosted by the Wilson Center’s program on Environmental Change and Security, which compared perspectives from the Pacific and Caribbean. With attention to religious leaders and faith-based civil society actors, this public forum focused on religion’s role in addressing island vulnerabilities, and in facilitating constructive engagements between local or community stakeholders and national policy makers, amid concerns for economic livelihoods and sustainability in the adaptation to climate change. The forum addressed how religious actors identify climate as a basis of outreach and collaboration, other issues connected to climate in the course of such efforts, and the potential added value of religious voices as part of mitigation and adaptation efforts. To learn more, view the full video recording and read an article summarizing the event.