Water and Spirituality for Climate Adaptation

Submitted by WC Admin | published 12th Oct 2021 | last updated 5th Apr 2023
Tuesday, 19 October, 2021 - 13:00 to 14:30 (Europe/Amsterdam)


People have always understood the value of water to sustain life, health, economies and ecosystems. A lot of cultural heritage has been built around water over the millennia. Examples are civil structures for water supply and for defence against water-related perils, for navigation, and for the generation of energy. Also part of this heritage are the governance systems set up for equitable and efficient management of water resources. Besides, societies and religions have developed a multitude of visions, rituals and  practices related to water.

Despite the abundance of water-related cultural heritage, its significance for present and future climate  challenges is not widely recognised. This partly due to the complexity of our relationship with water, and partly because of disciplinary and institutional divides between water managers and heritage experts.

As a contribution to COP26 and to kickstart the Community of Practitioners on Water and Heritage, GCA’s Water Adaptation Community (WAC) and the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Water and Heritage (ISC Water) organised a dialogue among spiritual leaders, who discussed water-related spirituality as a source of inspiration and wisdom to cope with climate change impacts on the water cycle—such as the increase in the frequency of droughts, floods and storms. This was a precursor to the dialogue among spiritual leaders to be held at the UN Water Decade Mid Term Review to be held in New York (2023).

Key questions:

  • What does a spiritual view on climate challenges look like?
  • Can spirituality prove to be a source of resilience to climate change effects?
  • How do we build upon our water-related cultural heritage, to forge strategies for climate change adaptation?


  • Moderator: Sergio Ribeiro, Director General of CIRAT, Brazil, and Board Member of ICOMOS ISC Water
  • A vision on adaptation to climate change in the Laudato si’, the second encyclical of Pope Francis: Ms. Maria Hammershoy, Secretary General, Caritas Denmark
  • A vision on adaptation to climate change: Mr. Núñez, Leader of the Wa:k Community
  • San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation near Tucson, Arizona, USA: Ms. Mona Polacca, Native American Spiritual Elder
  • A vision on adaptation to climate change: Valériane Bernard, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University UN Representative
  • A vision on adaptation to climate change – A Buddhist Perspective: Dharma Master Hsin Tao, Founding Abbot of the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society and Founder of the Museum of World Religions
  • A vision on adaptation to climate change – Perspective of Iberê Guarany Mbyá, Guanary Tribe Leader, Brazil
  • A vision on adaptation to climate change – An Islamic Perspective by Hasan Shikoh, Lecturer, Univ of Birmingham, UK
  • Reflection on the dialogue by representative of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, Sister Marvie Misolas, Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic's


nitya closeup - climate adaptation.

Hi all,

I am delighted to share the link to the talk by Hasan Shikoh on YouTube. Please do watch it. Thanks to Hasan for sharing the link.


Nitya Jacob