As a global communion of 149 Lutheran churches in 99 countries, with local roots and a global presence, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) affirms the need to take urgent action to address the climate crisis.
The LWF is committed to strengthening efforts for climate justice. People socially and economically disadvantaged and marginalized are disproportionally affected by climate change. Climate change and inequality are locked in a vicious cycle, whereby climate change hazards aggravate inequality. We advocate for common but differentiated climate action at all levels, from individual behavioral changes to high-level political decision-making processes.
Lutheran churches contribute to climate adaptation and mitigation among the most vulnerable at the local and national levels. As a communion of churches, our engagement is rooted in the spiritual and theological perspectives of the Lutheran tradition. Our faith motivates us to cultivate an ecological sense of being human and a vocation to care for the well-being of all creation.
The LWF has issued substantive statements on climate justice and resources promoting faithful earth keeping since 1977. Most recently, the LWF announced fossil fuel divestment in 2015. It supported the Statement of Faith and Spiritual Leaders at the Paris Climate Summit. Also, it passed a resolution on climate change at the 2017 Assembly of the LWF, calling member churches to engage more deeply in addressing the impacts of climate change. The LWF advocates for a development model that addresses global economic inequalities and builds community resilience to climate change. Reduction of inequality can help to contain the adverse effects of climate change. Since 2011, Youth has led our COP delegations. They are leading climate justice projects all over the world, focusing on the importance of taking care of the creation, intergenerational justice, and how to participate in national climate processes like National Determined Contributions (NDC). They promote reforestation in their communities and gather ideas for climate justice engagement on carbon neutrality.
COP 28 will take place from 30 November until 12 December 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, see https://www.cop28.com/en/, more information will be provided on the arrangements for and format of the conference in the coming months.
The LWF calls for youth nominations from all regions to participate in UNFCCC negotiations at COP28. There must be a gender balance of at least 40 percent. LWF youth delegation will be selected from the nominees, a wider group will be selected for online participation, and a limited number for in-person participation depending on the number of accreditations that the UNFCCC assigns to LWF.
The nominated youth will play a key role in shaping the LWF’s engagement with COP28 – ranging from national-level advocacy to global mobilization.
All youth nominated will have the opportunity to participate in the LWF Climate Justice capacity-building program, including workshops centered around the relevant topics of the UNFCCC negotiations, the current state of climate justice, and networking with peers.
- Goals of LWF COP28 Delegation
This event aims to act meaningfully for climate justice as people of faith and to strengthen youth leadership across the LWF. Strengthening youth leadership will happen in a few ways:
- relationships among youth in the LWF will be strengthened through mentoring relationships between youth who have been to the event and youth who have not,
- the LWF will invest in skill-building and leadership development of individual delegates and will follow up about the resulting impact on their member church, and
- the delegation will develop a devotional resource for use in member churches – putting youth leadership of the important issue front and center in LWF communications during and following the event.
- Composition of LWF youth delegation at COP
The delegation will comprise youth representatives (18-30 years old) from LWF member churches, preferably with some understanding and previous experience in climate justice.
All LWF Member Churches are eligible to nominate one youth delegate. Nomination endorsement should be from the leadership of the LWF member church.
Youth delegates are defined as representatives of the LWF as a collective rather than representing their church.
- Expectations of LWF Youth Delegates
Youth delegates actively participate in pre-planning the delegation activities and conversations around main themes and methodologies for engagement. All delegates are committed to engaging in dialogue within the delegation itself, despite differences, and are committed to creating a safe space where all delegates can be heard and respected.
LWF youth delegates at COP are committed to the following values:
- Mutual respect
- Preparedness and responsiveness
- Flexibility and openness
Delegates also commit to:
- Ensuring a safe space within the delegation, not to share information about the work of other delegates (from other civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, or official delegates) indiscreetly. This is particularly important as some delegates might be working under adverse circumstances of shrinking space, and we must aim to keep each other safe.
- Not undermine the positions in the oral or written statements.
- Familiarize yourself with the latest LWF resolutions on Climate Justice (see: https://www.lutheranworld.org/what-we-do/justice-and-peace/climate-justice previous engagements and the key advocacy messages.
- When relevant and possible, communicate directly with your country delegation. Inform them of activities, plans and offer expertise to the country delegation.
- Share relevant resources and knowledge within the LWF Youth delegation specifically if your church already developed materials related to climate justice.
- Participate in the LWF Climate Justice capacity-building program (more details will come later), engage in preparatory meetings with the delegation, including supporting preparations for activities that will take place in Dubai and online.
- When relevant and possible, engage with civil society in your context and region and make networks and alliances and collaborations in preparation.
- Be present and contribute to an orientation session prior to COP28 (at least 2 hours but possibly more)
- Read relevant information and dedicate time to preparation by engaging with the following (more information will come later):
(Participation, time, communication)
- Reflect on your spiritual commitment to climate justice and participate in daily devotionals
- Engage in the external communication work, including preparing short videos with your main messages about engaging at COP28 or writing a small blog telling other youth about your experience and participation.
- Participate in delegation meetings daily and contribute daily to internal communications, including sharing your notes from the sessions in which you participate. It is particularly useful to share information between the LWF delegations as it allows us to complement each other, attend different sessions, and share knowledge from sessions.
- Network and engage in dialogue with other strategic partners.
- Contribute to identifying key Side and Parallel Events. When relevant, engage by asking questions or talking directly with panelists and introduce yourselves under the LWF Youth delegation when you do so.
(Blog writing, video creation, ongoing involvement, and leadership)
- Report back to the LWF through a short-written report
- Report back to your church about your participation in COP28
- Identify how you will continue your engagement in climate justice advocacy