"Global warming will only be resolved through a global common response and we need your help," the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told the head of the 349-member World Council of Churches (WCC), the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, this week.
In a wide-ranging discussion at the WCC's headquarters in Geneva, Ban and Kobia laid down plans for a deeper partnership between the two bodies on climate change and a number of other pressing global issues.
The WCC and its member churches have long worked to mobilize churches in efforts to stave off the worst consequences of climate change and ensure that the international community maintains its commitment beyond the Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire in 2012.
"We would like to maintain a close partnership with the WCC," said Ban. "You have high moral power and what you are doing is based on your Christian beliefs."
Kobia, meanwhile, affirmed the WCC's commitment to working with the UN.
"Working on global warming is a matter of faith," he said. "You can count on the WCC as a strong partner in acting together now for the sake of humankind and the rest of creation."
Ban, who is the first Korean UN head, went on to thank the WCC for the role it had played in the democratization of his home country, while Kobia, a Kenyan pastor, paid tribute to the UN's efforts to find a peaceful solution to post-election violence in Kenya.
Ban invited the WCC to collaborate more closely with the UN in overcoming intolerance, particularly in areas where it has fueled violence at election time.
"This is another area where the WCC can make a contribution," he said. "The world has suffered for too long with intolerances."
The WCC and its member churches in Africa are already planning their role in monitoring the elections in Zimbabwe on March 29.
Ban and Kobia concluded their meeting with a short prayer service for peace in the WCC chapel.
"Your spirit of caring is based in Christianity," said Ban. "I am glad the WCC is one of the strong partners of the UN."