THE Salvation Army participated in a series of meetings discussing the role of religion and faith in addressing some of the world's biggest problems – extreme poverty, conflict and security, governance, gender equality and women's empowerment.
Leaders from the worlds of finance, development and faith-based organisations met in a ground-breaking meetings in Washington DC and New York City to share perspectives on how these issues should be addressed. Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant (Director, International Social Justice Commission and International Accountability Movement Coordinator) presented a paper outlining The Salvation Army's experience and participated in discussion panels.
A conference on 'Religion and Sustainable Development: Building Partnerships to End Extreme Poverty', was convened and co-hosted in Washington DC, USA, by many organisations including the World Bank Group, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the US Agency for International Development, UK Department For International Development and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities, a coalition of faith-based organisations and academic institutions.
The conference brought together a unique combination of policy makers, multilateral and bilateral agencies, religious leaders, development professionals from faith-based organisations and academics.The aim was to connect frontline policy makers with religious and faith-based groups in the common cause of ending extreme poverty and promoting sustainable development. Through reviewing evidence delegates developed specific recommendations for action to strengthen effective partnerships between religious and faith-based groups and the public sector.
Donors and development institutions are showing great interest in the role of religious and faith groups in providing evidence-based, scalable solutions towards achieving shared development goals. The conference presented a timely opportunity to expand the conversation from whether public sector and religious and faith-based groups can effectively collaborate to how it can happen.
In his opening remarks, World Bank President Dr Jim Kim said that every major religion shared a fundamental commitment to the poorest and most vulnerable members of society and that this provided a common platform with the international development community's aim to end extreme poverty.
'We are the first generation in history that can say we can end extreme poverty in our lifetime,' Dr Kim said. 'We can't get there without all of you,' he added, addressing the faith communities. 'We need prophetic voices to inspire us and evidence to lead the way.'