This conference was organized by Interreligious and environmental civil forum of Eastern Europe (IRCEF, Ukraine) and Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU, Germany).
The conference was attended by guests from Germany, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia. They represented the scientific, civil and religious institutions of these countries.
The main goal of the conference organizers was to establish real interaction between the religious and civil society in the field of environmental protection. It is these communities together that can have a strong influence on the ecological outlook of people. This is especially true of churches in the post-Soviet space, which today are only joining environmental activity. At the same time, it is difficult to overestimate the potential of churches in this aspect, since they have a high level of trust both among believers and among the rest of the population. Realization of this potential can lead to a fundamental turning point in the struggle for environmental conservation in the regional dimension of the Eastern Partnership.
This conference summarizes the specific phase of the IRCEF’s activities. As a result of the implementation of a number of environmental and educational projects of the organizations participating in the Forum, the need arose for the IRCEF to reach a strategic level of activity. The participants of the IRCEF decided to create independent subdivisions – committees that will deal with specific directions of the Forum’s activities.
Within the framework of this conference, the establishment of the Committee on Climate Protection was approved, which brings together scientists, experts, activists and priests who are interested in the environmental direction of the Forum’s activities. At the same time, the Program of the Committee was agreed upon, and permanent members of the working group were elected from among the representatives of the IRCEF member organizations.
Conference participants were also informed about the creation of the Committee on Environmental Theology. The Carmelite monk and geneticist Matthew Temple, professor at Nazareth Colledge (Rochester, USA) agreed to take charge of this committee.
Also, the conference participants reported on the implemented projects in the framework of the IRCEF and presented new ones. Within the framework of round tables and working meetings, they discussed the search for funding for IRCEF projects; shared their experience in implementing specific projects; determined the future development of IRCEF activity; agreed on the text of the appeal to MEP Rebecca Harms with proposals to support current initiatives of the IRCEF in the format of the EU system program at the level of the Eastern Partnership countries.
At the end of the conference, the organizers introduced the participants to another comprehensive project, which is being implemented by IRCEF in collaboration with Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich, Germany) and Uzhgorod National University. On October 4-6, 2018, the first event «Tolerance at the European frontiers – the dimension of Ukraine» was held. This is an international conference on the harmonization of the concept of active tolerance. The conference was attended by representatives of Eastern Europe, Germany and the United States, who took the first steps to describe the situation of tolerance in Ukraine, and also tried to develop methods for the development of common values to ensure mutual respect between different social groups and their productive cooperation for the common good.