March 2, 2012
United Nations Environment Programme
Religious and community leaders meet to discuss solutions for sustainable development
Nairobi (Kenya) The Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW), a non-governmental organization of contemplative leaders based in the United States, held today an environmental conference at the headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi.
The meeting, entitled Awakening the Healing Heart, focused on how civil society, especially women and religious leaders, can mobilize awareness and action to protect the environment and promote sustainable development.
The challenges facing the environment today has created a new urgency within faith communities to build a global consciousness around sustainable development. An international delegation from the GPIW conference will form part of the inter-faith component attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil in June 2012.
The meeting brought together over 300 women religious and community leaders, environmentalists and advocates from 28 countries and from all the major faith traditions, including among others H.H. Shinso Ito, head priest of Shinnyo-en, Japan; Reverand Dr. Celestin Musekura, founder of African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries, Rwanda/USA; Ms. Wang Yongchen, founder of Green Earth Volunteers, China and Dr. Sakeena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning.
UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner gave the keynote address.
"We at the Global Peace Initiative of Women are privileged to be in Kenya with so many inspiring faith and community leaders to assess how our perspective can contribute to environmental healing and provide new solutions for sustainable development," said Reverend Joan Brown Campbell, GPIW Chair, and former director of the U.S. Office of the World Council of Churches.
On Saturday, 3 March, delegates will travel to Ol Ari Nyiro, the Laikipia Nature Conservancy on the edge of the Rift Valley, to craft a shared agenda and commitment for mobilizing faith communities to protect the environment. Bringing religious and civil society leaders to the Rift Valley, historically known as the cradle of civilization, will serve as a far-reaching reminder of what is at stake.
The Global Peace Initiative of Women conference is organized in partnership with the Gallmann Memorial Foundation/ Gallmann Africa Conservancy, with support from Shinnyo-en, the Fetzer Institute, and the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association.
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Access to the live webcast of the conference in Laikipia at http://www.media-server.com/m/p/8nhtau2u
The Global Peace Initiative of Women (http://www.gpiw.org)A major focus of GPIW's work is to aid in building a global network of contemplative leaders who through their inner work can help transform the causes and conditions that lead to suffering at both the individual and collective level. The environmental crisis has created new urgency within faith communities to safeguard the manifold communities of life on Earth. The gathering in Kenya aims to amplify their efforts and build the global consciousness around the collective ethical and moral responsibilities of sustainable development.
The Gallmann Africa Conservancy (http://www.gallmannkenya.org) promotes the co-existence of people and nature in Africa by harmonizing the protection and the creative sustainable and ecological utilization of the natural resources. Operating in Ol ari Nyiro, in northern Kenya, the Conservancy aims to make Ol ari Nyiro an example of this conservation principle.