Joan Hernández, lecturer at UIC Barcelona, participates in the International Multi-religious Forum ‘At a Crossroads’

Joan Hernández Serret, lecturer for the UIC Barcelona Faculty of Communication Sciences, and head of Religions for Peace in Spain, participated as coordinator and promoter of the International Forum “At a Crossroads: An Intergenerational and Multireligious Response to the Social and Environmental Crises,” which was held in Manresa on 27-30 November 2022. Hernández moderated the discussions and sessions and participated in the opening and closing sessions of the Forum.

Organised by the City Council of Manresa, Spain; Religions for Peace Internation; and Religions for Peace-Spain-Stable Working Group of Religions (GTER), the forum gathered more than fifty religious leaders and youth and women group representatives from more than 34 countries, as well as representatives from the scientific world and government agencies, to find an intergenerational, multireligious and multisectoral response to the social and environmental crisis caused by climate change. In short, the conference was a multireligious and multi-sectoral conference led by young people from Japan, South Africa, Europe, the United States, India and South America. among others.

Participating in the forum were religious and social leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi's granddaughter Ela Gandhi, the Sheikh of Uganda, Rabbi David Rosen from Jerusalem, or the Bishops of Vic and Solsona (the latter, responsible for the interreligious dialogue group of the Spanish Episcopal Conference).

The forum concluded with the signing of The Manresa 2022 Pact, which is a roadmap to future action to join efforts, encourage action and social impact from the reality of each individual. The Pact was signed by world religious leaders, international youth groups, local authorities and attendees of the conference

Manresa Mayor Marc Aloy Guàrdia and Secretary General of Religions for Peace and Professor Azza Karam committed to take these proposals and commitments of the Pact to other cities, religious communities and national and international bodies, such as the UN or the UNESCO, and with the desire that they be shared by all the governments of the world.

As was made evident in the four days of discussions, and as the text of the Pact states, “social and environmental crises that affect cities where most of the world’s population live, including refugees and those displaced by the effects of climate change.” The focus must be “multisectoral, interreligious, intergenerational “with special recognition “of the crucial value of youth leadership as the current heirs of this climate crisis.” For these reasons, the Pact calls for “creating inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities,” as called for globally by the United Nations SDG 11, in order “to alleviate the effects of the social and environmental crises that impact everyone, particularly the most vulnerable.”