The International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) this week announced the launch of the “Faith4SDGs” Project – a virtual film festival showcasing the work of faith-based organizations in providing quality education, clean water, renewable energy, jobs, safe housing and ensuring gender equality in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Each of the short film screenings, which will take place 23-30 October, will be followed by Q&A sessions with United Nations representatives and development experts from faith communities. All events are free and open to the public, with registration required.
Launched in honour of United Nations Day, the project aims to further mobilise faith communities around global development agendas and urges recognition of their contributions by the international community.
An opening webinar will kick off the series on 22 October. Guest speakers will include Faisal bin Muaammar, Secretary General of KAICIID, Dr. Iyad Abumoghli, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Faith for Earth Initiative, Yvonne Helle, Special Representative to UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People, Dr. Azza Karam, Secretary General of Religions for Peace and Esther Lehmann-Sow, Global Director of Faith and Development at World Vision International.
According to bin Muaammar, while religion is often overlooked in sustainable development, faith-based organizations have been increasingly aligning their work with global development agendas over the past few years. Religious institutions have also been at forefront of humanitarian aid, particularly in hard to reach communities.
“For decades, faith communities have provided a significant portion of the world’s health care services, education and humanitarian aid. Their networks cross political and physical borders. Because of this, they are uniquely positioned to further sustainable development in ways that other organizations cannot,” he said.
The launch of the Faith4SDGs Project follows directly on the heels of the KAICIID-supported G20 Interfaith Forum, which convened last week to discuss how to achieve United Nations Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
With just 10 years left to achieve the Goals, as well as a global pandemic which is causing devastating setbacks to the poor and the most vulnerable, the world is at a turning point. Governments have an important role to play but stand a better chance of achieving these goals if the contributions of faith-based organizations are recognised and harnessed.
Ambassador Alvaro Albacete, Deputy Secretary General of KAICIID, says the “Faith4SDGs” Project reflects a key part of the Centre’s mandate, which aims to bridge the gap between policymakers and religious leaders in order to address the world’s most challenging issues.
Sponsored by KAICIID’s Dialogue Knowledge Hub, which provides online tools on dialogue and global policy issues, the project is intended to be another virtual resource which helps religious actors and policymakers learn to speak the same language around development and humanitarian issues.
“KAICIID works with religious leaders and faith-based organizations to translate policy frameworks and sustainable development goals to grassroot levels,” Albacete said. “At the same time, we build capacity of both policy and religious actors, so that together they can be successful partners on global development agendas.”