“The increasingly complex and perilous times in which we live require global
approaches,” the religious leaders said.
“At the heart of our reflections are principles and values common to our religions
and universally upheld: the essential and irrevocable dignity of all human beings,
accountability for the goodness of creation, the ultimate value of reconciliation and
forgiveness, the centrality of freedom and justice. Policies and programs clearly in
accord with them have our support.”
The Religious Leaders Summit, held in the French city of Bordeaux, reflected on
tasks facing G8 countries at their Deauville meeting on 26-27 May, as well as G20
nations at a Cannes summit next November.
Participants concluded that the “new-found cohesion” shown by powerful
governments should be “strengthened and expanded to include other countries and
stakeholders,” including civil society and religious communities, and “translated into
ever more effective action programs.”
“Current events around the world, notably in the Middle East and North Africa,
make clear that people everywhere are demanding their fundamental dignity,” said
the 38 religious leaders, who were co-hosted by Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis,
Orthodox president of the Conference of European Churches, and Cardinal Jean-
Pierre Ricard, vice-president of the Council of Catholic Episcopates of Europe.
“Pluralism is no longer simply an asset or a prerequisite for material progress; it is a
vital component of peace, security and human development.”
Founded in 1970, Religions for Peace receives funding from the United Nations and
USAID, as well as religious agencies such as Catholic Relief Services and Lutheran
Its website says it seeks “multi-religious partnerships” for confronting issues of war,
poverty and environmental protection, and helped create dialogue and reconciliation
in Iraq and Sierra Leone.
The religious leaders said the G8 and G20 still lacked “the necessary global
legitimacy to provide effective global impact,” and should be made “more
transparent” and brought “more formally within the framework of the United Nations
Among recommendations, they said “unfettered markets” were “not necessarily
efficient, stable or self-correcting,” and called for a “robust regulatory framework” to
prevent future financial crises and protect the vulnerable.
They added that climate change was “a uniquely imminent threat,” and said developed
countries should ensure low-carbon technologies became “freely available to
developing countries,” while also increasing their aid budgets, opening their markets
unilaterally and making “global investments in peacemaking.”
“Military responses to terrorism often injure innocent persons, provide additional
motivation for terrorist groups and place in danger basic freedoms,” said the Religious
Leaders Summit, which was attended by Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Shintoist and
Bahai representatives from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well the
Conference of European Churches and Orthodox Moscow Patriarchate.
“Stronger co-operation is needed to resist the victimization of groups based on culture
or religion and to protect the dignity of those denied basic human rights.”
Previous summits since 2005 were held in Britain, Russia, Japan, Italy and Canada,
while future meetings are planned for the U.S. in 2012 and Britain in 2013.