Faith groups must unite to help create a world where governments and citizens alike implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which are aimed at ending poverty, hunger and creating better sustainability.
This call was made by think-tank the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), which called for real partnership with faith groups, not tokenism, from the UN and other development partners.
Speaking after the UN agreed to adopt the SDG, ARC said that, while the UK was relying on civil society — of which faith groups are the biggest, organised element — to implement the goals, too often faith groups had been ignored.
Martin Palmer, secretary general of ARC, said, ‘For too long the faiths have not only been ignored, but often dismissed and patronised — even though more than 80 per cent of the world’s population say they belong to a religion, and faith groups are among the world’s biggest providers of education, health and aid’.
He claimed faith groups needed ‘more than just walk-on parts in the drama of the SDG process. The Pope’s visit to the UN could either be simply seen as a sort of good luck charm that the UN can wave around, or it can be the real start of an engagement with civil society’s largest, best organised and most trusted sector — the faiths’.