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PaRD Side Event to the High-Level Political Forum 2019. Together for the Goals – Religious Actors’ Role in Sustaining Peace

The PaRD SDG 16 work-stream on Sustaining Peace convened a side event during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum 2019 on July 16, at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City, USA.

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The side event was co-sponsored by DFID/UKAid, GAC, KAICIID, Arigatou International, CRS, Danmission, JLI, The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, and World Vision, as well as generously supported by SDC. It offered an opportunity for the more than 90 participants to get insights into the role that religious and traditional actors play in achieving SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and into the importance of working across sectors.  

The event was marked by the launch of the new scoping study conducted by PaRD knowledge partner JLI on the role of religious and traditional actors through stages of conflict as well as in fostering social cohesion and peace with focus on the Lake Chad region and South Asia. The study serves to inform policy and implementation around the world with concrete examples and aims to establish how to include faith leaders and religious actors in conflict transformation at community level.

Following the welcoming remarks by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati (Secretary Genera of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance/Member of PaRD Steering Group), the discussion kicked off with a keynote address by H. Em. Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar. He highlighted the

"recognition that religious leaders are influential in peace making is a reality the world leaders and the civil society actors need to take into account."

The Cardinal further noted the central and proactive role religious actors play in Myanmar in interventions to promote peace while strongly emphasizing the importance of unity in a world torn by sectarianism and violence. 

The keynote was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Rev. Doug Leonard (WCC), representing Dr. Olivia J. Wilkinson (JLI), Bishop Sunday Onuoha (the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace in Nigeria), Ms. Z Nang Raw (Nyein (Shalom) Foundation from Myanmar) as well as Prof. Syafiq A. Mughni (Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of Indonesia for Interfaith and Inter-Civilization Dialogue and Cooperation). Through this panel, a discussion was sparked on evidence-based recommendations to guide engagement and partnerships between local faith and international actors.  

The PaRD work-stream on Sustaining Peace will build on the study in order to further promote interfaith dialogue by including the engagement of governmental and intergovernmental entities, faith-based actors and civil society organisations to sponsor peacebuilding events. 

Ambassador Alvaro Albacete, KAICIID Deputy Secretary General closed the event by highlighting that

"Today's theme was partnerships. Partnerships like these here with PaRD and with JLI, who conducted the study, are critical for the success of KAICIID's work, and for all of our work towards achieving SDG16. KAICIID looks forward to continuing collaborations such as these."

Please download the scoping study to the right and find out more about the current activities of the PaRD work-stream here.