CHRIS ELISARA (WORLD EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE)
CHRIS ELISARA (WORLD EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE)
Name : Chris Elisara
Organization : World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)
PCG : CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS
"I am the founding director (2012) of the Creation Care Task Force for the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), which is the third largest historical Christian organization in the world after the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches. The WEA has 600 million members and National Alliances in over 129 countries. The WEA has an extensive history and background working constructively with the UN and other international bodies on many different mutual concerns and issues. For example, I work on climate issues through the UNFCCC, attend climate COPs, special summits, etc., etc..
Why would a Christian environmental leader be interested in urbanism? Because our common future, all humanity and all life on our planet, is dependent on how the world urbanizes over the next 25-30 years. This is why I attended the Prep-coms leading up to Habitat III, led the WEA to become a member of WUC, attended Habitat III in 2016, WUF9, WUF10, and World Cities Day in Liverpool in 2018. I attend and contribute to WUC secretariat meetings, including the WUC working groups that revamped and developed its new vision and governance leading to the revitalization of WUC.
Because approximately 80% of the world’s population professes some religious affiliation, I have used my WEA platform to led the formation of a parallel multi-faith network to engage the New Urban Agenda and UN-Habitat. Thus, I convened with multi-faith partners the very first “Faith-Based Urban Thinkers Campus” in 2017 in Singapore, and in 2019 convened a global series of Faith-Based Urban Thinkers Campuses in Africa, Asia, Europe/North America, and Latin/South America. In May this year the WEA was a co-host of COVID-19 UTC#5 “Community Leaders at the Front Lines” where faith leaders were able to contribute their insights and perspectives.
My multi-faith work has led to the formation of the International Council of Faiths for Urbanism (ICFU), which will be introduced to the world at a special event on Nov 4th. at the International Symposium on Religious Life in Bandung, Indonesia co-hosted by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS). ICFU is the world’s highest level multi-faith representative and expert urban body that can engage with the UN, other international bodies, and national governments. The role and function of the ICFU is akin to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Faiths for Earth which works with the world’s faiths to advance the UNEP’s mission (https://www.unenvironment.org/about-un-environment/faith-earth-initiative).
In addition to the above faith-based work I am a filmmaker with an extensive history producing films about cities. In 2015 our company, First+Main Films (http://firstmainfilms.com), founded the international Better Cities Film Festival (http://bettercitiesfilmfestival.com). We just finished virtually hosting our 2020 Better Cities Film Festival with 80 films from over 26 countries, including a free screening on World Habitat Day of a selection of award winning film from WUF10. In 2019 we formed a partnership with UN-Habitat to produce the UN-Habitat Better Cities Film Festival that screened in the Urban Cinema at WUF10 and will host another festival at WUF11 (http://bettercitiesfilmfestival.com/un-habitat/). When COVID conditions permit we will begin to travel mini version “Best of” the UN-Habitat Better Cities Film Festival to cities around the world. Finally, First+Main Films was also a co-host of the COVID-19 UTC#9 “Reporting During the Pandemic” in May, 2020.
I am New Zealand citizen with equal Samoan and European family lines. I grew up in New Zealand and attended Auckland University. I now live in the USA where I went for graduate school (my Ph.D. is in Anthropology, and I have an MBA in International Development), but I maintain strong ties to New Zealand and Samoa and make frequent visits.
I have been a member of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) since 2009 and was a CNU board member from 2015-2018 (https://www.cnu.org)."
Past role in constituency/WUC :
"Please see the above answer for a lot of information pertinent to this question. In addition I will add I work in urban data and analytics and participated in the recent UN-Habitat expert group meeting (EGM) for creating a United Nations system urban monitoring framework on July 28-30th. I was invited to this meeting because of my work to partner UN-Habitat with the firm that developed UN-Habitat’s COVID-19 Readiness and Responsiveness tracker (https://unhabitat.citiiq.com).