Interfaith Rainforest Initiative

The Interfaith Rainforest Initiative announces that today, there is an urgent need for religious communities to work together to protect the world’s rainforests and the indigenous peoples who take care of them.


23 June 2017
Esteemed Colleague:

Today, there is an urgent need for religious communities to work together to protect the world’s rainforests and the indigenous peoples who take care of them.

Working together, religious communities can make a vital difference. Consider the following:

  • If deforestation ended today and degraded forests were brought back to health, tropical forests alone could reduce current annual climate-altering global emissions by up to 30%.
  • The health of our world’s rainforests is integrally linked to the vibrant cultural values and practices of the indigenous peoples, who have contributed to the common good by caring for rainforests for millennia.
  • Multi-religious cooperation to protect our world’s rainforests is urgently needed and essential to saving rainforests and the people who live within them.


(L-R): Abbot Phra Paisal Vongvoravisit, Co-Founder, Sekiya Dharma; Rabbi Sir David Rosen; International Director of Interreligious Affairs, AJC; Dr. Din Syamsuddin; Centre for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies at the University of Gadjah Mada; S.E. Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo; Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences; Bishop Gunnar Stålsett; Bishop Emeritus of Oslo, Church of Norway; and H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel, Director, The Liaison Office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union. 19 June 2017 (Courtesy of Reuters/Alister Doyle)

Religions for Peace leaders H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel, Rabbi Sir David Rosen, Bishop Gunnar Stålsett, Dr. Din Syamsuddin and Dr. William Vendley took part in launching the new international multi-faith alliance devoted to protection of rainforests.

This action-oriented alliance will unite the vital roles of religious communities in countries with rainforests with the commitment of religious communities around the world. All religious believers everywhere will be called to act in solidarity to protect the rainforests and the indigenous peoples who protect them. Please find the statement here: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese. Kindly share it widely.

In addition to important religious and inter-faith partners, the alliance is being greatly strengthened by valuable leadership from the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, the Rainforest Foundation Norway and the United Nations Development Programme.

Let us take up the vitally important work of protecting the world’s rainforests and the indigenous peoples who care for them. Doing so is not only essential to our survival, it will also greatly advance shared our well-being. Anticipate my remaining in communication with you on this vital work.

Yours in Partnership,


Dr. William F. Vendley
Secretary General
Religions for Peace International


RELIGIONS FOR PEACE-the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition-advances common action among the world’s religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious bodies and more than eighty national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Interfaith Youth Network.

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