Voices from Religions on Sustainable Development. 6/2017


With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international com-munity has charted a path to ensure that all human beings can live in dignity while respecting the limits of our planet. Yet, if we are to achieve the Sustain-able Development Goals set out in the Agenda, we will need to change how we  think  and  act  at  all  levels.  In  the  long  term,  this  can  only  succeed  if  the  partnerships we build include those who appeal not only to people’s minds, but who also move their hearts.

Religion plays an integral part in all societies and is the most important source of  values  for  many  people.  Any  development  policy  that  respects  people  as individuals must also respect their individual world views. For most people, this world view is fundamentally shaped by their religion.

For centuries, religious institutions have also been making a practical contri-bution to meeting people’s basic social needs. In many developing countries, the education and health care systems would be inconceivable without this contribution. Therefore, we can only truly breathe life into a new global partnership to implement the 2030 Agenda if religions are involved.

This  was  very  much  the  consensus  during  international  consultations  on  religion and development held last summer under the auspices of the United Nations, in which the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) took part. The idea for this publication originally arose during talks with representatives of the world’s major religions. What do Buddhists say about global justice? What status does the preservation of creation have for Christians? What do Muslims understand by responsible business practices?

In this publication more than 25 authors attempt to find answers to these, and many other, questions. I am particularly pleased because this book is a joint project. For every chapter, several representatives of each religion came together – high-ranking dignitaries, dedicated believers, leaders of religious institutions  and  research  scientists.  As  the  title  implies,  this  book  lays  out  important  insights  and  ideas  to  help  us  tackle  the  major  challenges  of  our  time. It does not offer cut and dried theological positions.

Nine  religions  and  one  indigenous  tradition  voice  their  views  in  this  book  –  the  Bahá’í  Faith,  Buddhism,  Christianity,  Confucianism,  Daoism,  Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, the Sikh Religion and the Native American Lenape. The authors take their lead from the five ‘P’s – planet, people, prosperity, peace and partnership – which together make up the heart of the 2030 Agenda.

I  very  much  hope  that  this  publication  will  encourage  a  discussion  of  the  contribution  that  religions  can  make  to  sustainable  development  –  both  in  the political arena and within the religious communities. Germany would like to contribute to this debate. It is our goal to tackle hunger and poverty even more effectively by taking into greater account the potentials  offered  by  the  world’s  religions.  The  BMZ  has  thus  published  its  own  strategy on the role of religion in development policy for the first time and is hosting an international conference on the issue in February 2016 in Berlin.

I would like to thank everyone who helped make this book a reality. Special thanks go to the dedicated authors for their remarkable inputs. I hope that all  readers  will  enjoy  the  new  insights  and  that  the  book  will  provide  food  for thought.

You can access the resource here


Share this