28 August 2015

2015 to 2030 'Sustainable Development Goals'

By Dean Pallant
ISJC Director

Earlier this week, the 193 Member States of the United Nations agreed a document that will shape the world's development agenda for the next 15 years. You can read the document HERE. The 17 goals are set out on page 12.

I encourage you to read this document and share it widely particularly with those who are responsible for applying for government/donor funding. Unlike the MDGs (which have guided policy for the past 15 years), this agreement affects all countries - both "developed" and "developing". Every country will be committing to these ambitious goals.

The second paragraph sets the tone:

"All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind."

Regrettably the document does not mention faith, spirituality or religion. In the final negotiations it was interesting to see the Muslim nations - Pakistan, Iraq, Bangladesh, etc - complaining at this omission. However, the ISJC is working with others to ensure faith is included in the implementation phase.

This agreement offers many opportunities to The Salvation Army as we serve suffering humanity in Christ's name without discrimination. This document could be referenced in territorial, divisional, corps and centre strategic plans to show how we are working towards a more sustainable world. This will be particularly important when applying for government funding as all governments will sign this agreement in September in New York.

The Pope will address the United Nations General Assembly on Friday 25 September. The Salvation Army is one of the co-hosts of an event in New York on 24 September to which the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the World Bank, Dr Jim Kim, and other UN and religious leaders are invited. The discussion will focus on how people of faith can support the Sustainable Development Goals.

I hope you find this information helpful. We can view this cynically and ignore it. However, it is a remarkable vision of a better world and we need to hold our governments accountable to deliver on their promises. This will be easier to do when we show how The Salvation Army is playing its part in transforming our world.