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WORLD RELIGIONS PLEDGE
TO CONSERVE ENVIRONMENT

Leaders of 11 major world religions gathered in Nepal recently to pool their efforts in the struggle against environmental degradation.

The leaders are among more than 500 delegates from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation meeting in Kathmandu for a three-day conference.

Organisers said the religious representatives had promised to take measures, dubbed "Sacred Gifts for a Living Planet", to combat forest and marine destruction, climate change and other environmental issues.

"Through these gifts we're reaching out to huge new constituencies - to the four to five billion people that these faiths represent - to work with them for the conservation of our living world," Claude Martin, director general of the WWF, said.

The 11 faiths participating are Baha'is, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Shinto, Sikhs, Taoists and Zoroastrians.

The "gifts" range from restoration of sacred forests in India to the reinstatement of a Buddhist hunting ban to help protect Mongolia's endangered snow leopard.

Nepal itself will step up efforts to preserve the ecology of the Royal Bardiya National Park, home to endangered wildlife species such as the Royal Bengal Tiger and the great single-horned Asian rhinoceros.

Sherpas in Nepal will also launch a drive to manage forests in the foothills of Mount Everest to address the increasing shortage of wood for heating, cooking and construction.

The China Taoist Association has urged its members to stop using endangered wildlife in traditional medicines.

Provided by: Planet Ark


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