New Delhi :In a global webinar held on 7 June 2020 under the aegis of Asia Pacific Faith Based Coalition, key speakers pinpointed the role of religious communities to contribute in the post-pandemic human development, especially in the context of Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs) pursued by UNO. Around 100 participants from different countries and persuasions joined it.
This program was held as a side event of the meeting of High Level Political Forum (HLPF), a UN body that overseas implementation on SDGs, to be held next week at UN. Such ongoing side events are aimed at intervening in the Voluntary National Reviews 2020 submitted by member countries to the HLPF.
International speakers like Swami Agnivesh a renowned religious scholar and actvists, Shinji Kubo the UNHCR representative at Philippine and Dr Catherine Marshal of George Washington University’s Berkley Centre for Religion, Peace and World Affairs addressed the hour-long event, besides Akmal Sharif, James Picket Munpa and Cyra Bullecer of APFC.
The takeaways of the event are as follows:
1-Religious communities should work as one family of God and help in grounding human rights and fighting unfairness and inquilities.
2-Faith-based communities have shown a vigorous role in facing the pandemic everywhere in extending emergency assistance and psychological strength to the affected sections. Their this role should be further enhanced.
3-The faith-based civil society organizations should come together, mobilize communities and bring the religious element of human development into discussion.
4-Faith-based organizations should intervene in the most critical challenge of the pandemic time emerging in the form of increasing gender and other violence.
5-One important role of faith-based organizations is to address the vulnerability of refugees and marginalized sections.
6-CSOs working with religious communities should take special care of educational challenges created due to their overall marginalization and the lockdown effect, which have left schooling of 1.5 billion children quite difficult.
7-The pandemic has brought a special moment of history for the established ideas which got shattered and it’s time for the policymakers to go beyond data and technicalities in the implementation of SDGs.[Report by Dr Abdul Rashid Agwan, IPSA, New Delhi]