More than 80 percent of the world’s population belongs to a religious community. The lives of the vast majority of people are thus affected or guided by religious values or beliefs. Due to this, religions and religious leaders and actors have a pivotal role in creating the foundations for sustainable change. In order to create sustainable development, religious aspects need to be taken into consideration both in the planning and implementation of development cooperation.
Finn Church Aid and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers have partnered with the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) network. Together with PaRD and its network members and partners, Finn Church Aid and the Peacemakers Network aim to strengthen cooperation to support the role of religious actors in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations. The cooperation will focus on work in the fields of peace building and gender equality.
PaRD was founded in 2016 to support cooperation between states, NGOs and civil society actors working in or funding the development sector. The members and partners of PaRD are located around the world. PaRD provides its members and partners a network in which to create joint funding projects, share knowledge, and develop inclusive cooperation and training.
Peacemakers Network and PaRD work together in order to strengthen the sustainable impact of peace building and conflict transformation. Both networks work in order to support the global peace building activities engaged by their members and partners. Conflict transformation is a key element providing the ground for sustainable development. In order to create a peace that lasts the inclusion of religious actors, women and youth, both on local as well as international levels cannot be compromised.
In spite of the trend of secularization seen in the global west, religions and religious actors are durable and resilient actors compared to, for example, civil society. The role of religious communities especially in developing nations is essential and religious communities have access and connections to secluded regions even in circumstances, where a functioning central government is non-existent and social services are weak.
Religion remains an immensely important resource and source of hope in dire circumstances and emergencies. To add to this, religion motivates millions of volunteer workers around the world. In order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the UN, it is important that the potential of religious communities is considered and included in all the work done.