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Partnering with Local Faith Actors to Support Peaceful and Inclusive Societies

The new study by the PaRD work-stream Sustaining Peace highlights the role of local faith-based actors in peacebuilding efforts.

The UN headquarters during last year's HLPF.

The study examines how the international community can better leverage local faith-based actors toward  achieving more just and peaceful societies. It was commissioned by an international coalition of governments and non-governmental organizations and examines the importance of having better partnerships with local faith-based actors as a way of achieving more peaceful and inclusive societies, as articulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG16).

The study will be launched during the United Nations’ 2019 High Level Political Forum in New York City. The Sustaining Peace work-stream of the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) is holding a special side event on July 16th, in which key inter-religious leaders will discuss the study’s findings.

The value of solidarity and the desire to achieve peace, equality and justice are common to all religions. Motivated by these powerful values, religious leaders around the world are mobilizing their communities as mediators and agents for change. Their efforts should be acknowledged, and their potential should be recognized. When we tap into this phenomenal resource, then bringing down the walls of fear and mistrust becomes an easy task.

The study analyzes the role of religious and traditional actors through stages of conflict as well as in fostering social cohesion and peace, with a special focus on the Lake Chad and South Asia regions. Among other findings, it shows that both international and local faith actors have something to contribute and something to learn from one another; that effective partnerships require trust-building over time; and that partnerships that work across humanitarian-development-peacebuilding silos are especially promising for making a more lasting contribution to sustainable peace. It also includes 10 case studies of successful local faith actor partnerships, including examples from such conflict-prone countries as Afghanistan and the Central African Republic. 

This study must inspire our organizations and our governments to act together to improve conditions at the grass roots level for those we serve.

“The study points to an ideal situation in which local religious leaders, faith-based and community service organizations, donor governments and hosting governments can collaborate at the national level in all of the countries in which PARD has members. Together, we can reach and surpass the U.N. Sustainable development goal of promoting peace, justice and strong institutions,” said Don Rogers, the church engagement advisor for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which is the international aid agency of the U.S. Catholic Church and another study co-sponsor under PARD.

Please download a copy of the study to the right.