Church of Sweden

Religious leaders gather in conjunction with UN climate summit

Press Release   •   Sep 18, 2014 09:11 BST

Former Archbishop Anders Wejryd, during the Interfaith Climate Summit in Uppsala in 2008 – a climate summit crossing religious and national boundaries. PHOTO: Magnus Aronson/IKON

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited the world’s leaders to a summit on 23 September to increase commitment in climate negotiations. Religious leaders from the world’s major religions will meet on the preceding day to submit a joint statement to the UN. The Church of Sweden will have a delegation in attendance.

The statement is being made to emphasise that the future fate of the Earth is not just about politics and technical solutions; it is also about our approach to the Earth and our lifestyle.

One of the religious leaders attending is former Archbishop Anders Wejryd, who is now President of the European section of the World Council of Churches. Anders Wejryd took the initiative to organise a similar meeting in Uppsala in 2008 with representatives of many of the world’s religions. The meeting in New York can be seen as a step in building on the work started in Uppsala.

 “Religions have a more long-term perspective than politics do today. That’s why our voice is important in demonstrating our responsibility and the need for fair distribution that transcends generations,” says Anders Wejryd.

Henrik Grape, climate expert at the Church of Sweden, is also in New York and has helped to prepare the meeting in the group who wrote the statement that will be submitted.

“The full dimensions of the climate issue have not yet been clarified, because we far too often only think of it as an environmental issue. We need to change our way of thinking and lifestyle, and the faith we live in plays a larger part in this than we might realise,” says Henrik and adds:

“Now is the time that we have the chance to create a better and fairer world in which we live in a more sustainable way”

The next key opportunity to reach a consensus on a new climate agreement will be in Paris in December 2015.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister, and Lena Ek, Minister for the Environment, will represent Sweden. 

In addition to Anders Wejryd and Henrik Grape, the delegation from the Church of Sweden includes Martin Vogel, climate policy advisor.


Henrik Grape, tel. +46 70 609 83 07

Stefan Håkansson, press secretary, tel. +46 768 00 01 02