Date of Meeting: 15 March 2017

Meeting Organizer: UN Women on behalf of the UNs Interagency Task Force for Religion and Development ( UNFPA/UNIATF), UK Aid/DFID and PaRD

CSW Delegates Present: Lt-Col. Eirwen Pallant, Lt-Col. Marieke Venter, Major Heather Grinsted

Reporter: Major Heather Grinsted

Which SDG does this topic cover? 5, 16

Type of meeting: CSW Side Event

Brief summary of presentation of information made

Last year the CSW in its 60th session recognized for the first time the role of faith based organizations in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women. The creation of this platform will add value to the global discussion on these topics and will assist in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and linking SDGs across fields of expertise.  The platform will raise greater understanding of the religious, ethical and moral values which are critical to the millions of people across the globe.

I should like to highlight some pits from the discussion:

Eight out of ten people in the world affiliate with a religion (PaRD)

Belief, values and religious practices are a part of daily life around the world and therefore religious leaders and communities influence the thoughts and actions of billions of people.

The wide acknowledgement of the sustained importance of religion in societies has directed growing attention to the role of religion in public policy.

Religion is frequently made responsible for instability and violence. However Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) estimates that only 14% of all conflicts in 2013 were significantly caused by religious factors.

Religious actors play a positive significant role in assisting those suffering, resolving conflicts and building peace but they are often unrecognized.

We misconstrue religious teaching when men are viewed as superior. We need to generate new narratives based on equality before God.

We need the ability to reach the marginalized of society and leave no one behind. Faith based groups have a significant role to play: in the provision of services, in humanitarian assistance often the first to respond and the last to leave, empowerment and accountability, building a peaceful society, and in changing behaviours.

Gender equality is a concern for both sexes.

“The Ark of the universe is long and it bends to gender equality”

What theological response can we come up with together?

There are difficult issues and we need the space to progress together.

Platforms can be motivated by narrow agendas. But they can also be used to generate knowledge, impact and motivation.  

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

The Salvation Army is partnered with PaRD. We can share best practices and learn from mistakes. 

Web links for more information