Voices from Religions on Sustainable Development. 6/2017
Published by PARTNERRELIGIONDEVELOPMENT
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