World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Release
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
E-mail: media

29 January - 6 February 2001
Potsdam, Germany

6 February 2001

WCC Central Committee expresses concerns related to climate change, calls for analysis of impact of economic globalization

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee said it is "disappointed" at the failure of United Nations'-sponsored intergovernmental negotiations related to climate change at The Hague last November. It encouraged continuation of negotiations in May "and as needed to arrive at an agreement" to address the problem.

The Central Committee, meeting in Potsdam, Germany, January 29 to February 6, also asked the WCC and its member churches to develop a "comprehensive ecumenical theological analysis" of economic globalization and its impact on churches and society.

The resolutions were among several presented to the Central Committee by the Policy Reference Committee.

The failure of the climate change negotiations in November was "a dramatic disappointment," said Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, WCC general secretary. The Central Committee's resolution reaffirmed the WCC position "that industrialized countries bear the moral responsibility for precipitating climate change" and must take action to reduce the causes.

In addition to its call for analysis, the Central Committee asked the WCC to focus on searching for alternatives to economic globalization. These include transformation of the current global market economy, and promotion and development of "just" trade and financial systems. It also asked the WCC to highlight "economically instituted" violence as part of its observance of the "Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace."

"The major impact of economic globalization is its effect on the whole society," said Bishop Aldo M. Etchegoyen, Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina, during discussion of the proposal.

The WCC is in the process of organizing "a major consultation" with representatives of significant international financial organizations on this issue, said Raiser.

The Central Committee also adopted resolutions on other matters of concern:

  • It recommended direct and regular engagement between the newly formed Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and the WCC. The alliance represents some 40 organizations, and the WCC seeks to be a partner with it, contributing expertise on HIV/AIDS and global trade, Raiser said.
  • It formally adopted a message to churches on the Decade to Overcome Violence.
  • It affirmed and endorsed the work of Actions by Churches Together (ACT), an international alliance of churches and relief agencies. Presently, ACT's governance and management structure is undergoing review.
  • It said it will reflect at its next meeting in 2002 on the experience of the United Nations World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance to be held in South Africa later this year. It also asked for a plenary session on Asia at its 2002 meeting, similar to its Potsdam plenary session on issues confronting the people of Europe.

    Photos from the Central Committee

    For more information contact:
    the Media Relations Office
    tel.: (+49 331) 274 9203;
    Celular: (+41 79) 284 5212;
    e-mail: media
    Top of page

    2001 press releases

    WCC homepage

    The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.