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Daniel Lak in Bhaktapur
"People of all faiths took part in a colourful function"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 15 November, 2000, 14:38 GMT
Religious leaders vow to conserve
Deforestation in Amazon rainforest
Deforestation is a major concern to the religious leaders
By Sushil Sharma in Kathmandu

Representatives of 11 major faiths of the world have jointly pledged to work for the protection of global environment.

They made the pledge at a colourful ceremony during a three-day conference being held in an ancient Nepalese town, Bhaktapur, near the capital, Kathmandu.

The conference has been organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and is being attended by over 500 delegates from 56 countries.

The religious leaders - who represent Islam, Hinduism and Christianity among other religions - have also pledged to take actions "dedicated to the planet".

Concerns

The religious leaders vowed to combat forest and marine destruction, climate change and other environmental concerns.

Traditional musicians
Traditional musicians participated in the opening function
Their pledges range from the restoration of sacred forests in India to the reinstatement of a Buddhist hunting ban that will help protect Mongolia's endangered snow leopard.

The New York-based Methodist Church announced that it would launch a global campaign to promote environmental sustainability.

The multi-national and multi-religious event, said to be the first of its kind, has been organised by the WWF with the UK-based international organisation, Alliance of Religion and Conservation (ARC).

The faiths represented in the landmark event have a following of more than four billion people.

Though the first joint initiative involving religious leaders in conservation campaign was first launched in Italy about a decade ago, it has been claimed that the Nepal conference was the most important.

The General Secretary of the ARC, Martin Palmer, said that all faiths have environmental teachings, which, he said, has been highlighted by the present event.

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