Sadhviji Speaks at High-Level Interfaith Events During COP28
December 8, 2023
During COP28’s ground-breaking and first-ever Faith Pavilion, Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji – Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and President of the Divine Shakti Foundation – added insight and inspiration to the conversation about climate change when she spoke at two high-level events dealing with the role of faith leaders and faith communities in abating climate change and protecting the environment. The first event, dubbed “Practical Faith Leadership in Addressing Climate Change” and presented by the AJC – American Jewish Committee, was moderated by Rabbi Noam Marans, the Director of Interfaith Relations for the American Jewish Committee, and included comments from His Excellency Sheikh Al-Mahfoudh Bin Bayyah, Secretary-General of the منتدى تعزيز السلم في المجتمعات المسلمة. Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace, and Reverend Christine Trainor of St. Andrew’s Church, Abu Dhabi.
In her discourse, Sadhviji shared the Hindu principles of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam – the world as one family of Vasudhu, the Goddess of Mother Earth – and teachings from the Upanishads that remind us that everything is pervaded by the Divine, so we must be very careful never to think of anything as belonging to us, because everything is God. She also highlighted the excellent work being done by the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance founded and chaired by HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji – Munijiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, for water, sanitation, hygiene and environmental protection.
The second event, “Women of Faith for Rights and Resilience: Taking Stock of Progress and Lessons Learned from Decades of Climate Action,” was presented by Religions for Peace International and focused on the intersection of women, faith and climate and was moderated by Deepika Singh, the Associate Secretary-General and Director of Programmes for Religions for Peace. Other panelists included Dr. Ibrahim Salama Chief of the Human Rights Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Mr. Mihir Mathur Founder, DESTA Research LLP; Mr. Pradnya Mathur Consultant and Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW). Sadhvii shared the difficulties faced by women of the Himalayan region in the face of climate change and emphasized the importance of providing access to water, seeds and education and training for the women and girls. She also shared the work being done by the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and Divine Shakti Foundation to provide education and training to girls of the Himalayan region, and emphasized the importance of tree plantation by sharing the work that HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji is spearheading that gifts fruit trees to girls and women, providing them with a source of income, while also reforesting the Himalayas.
While at COP28, Sadhviji also met with H.E. Miguel Moratinos , the High Representative of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC); Iyad Abumoghli, the Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Faith for the Earth; Chief Rabbi David Rosen; and many other distinguished leaders dedicated to ensuring a sustainable and livable future for today’s and future generations.