The G20 Interfaith Forum (IF20) in Bologna, Italy, called for closer collaboration between policymakers and religious actors to face current global issues. Many PaRD members and partners were among the attendees, including Peter Prove from World Council of Churches, Adam Phillips from USAID, Kirsten Muth from the Joint Learning Initiative (JLI), Prof Katherine Marshall, World Faiths Development Dialogue and Prof Azza Karam from Religions for Peace.
In their initial policy recommendations, representatives from different religions and academic fields agreed that there is a need for G20 leaders and nations to engage more systematically with religious actors. This engagement should happen as part of ongoing COVID-19 responses and regarding hunger, conflict and climate change. Because they are vital in identifying vulnerable people and addressing vaccine hesitancy, the role of religious actors in vaccination campaigns should be strengthened, according to forum participants. IF20 highlighted that inequalities in education and health have been deepened by the pandemic and that Covid-19 has also significantly affect already marginalised people.
The G20 Interfaith motto "Time to Heal" set the tone for the suggestion "to heal health, social, and economic fractures stemming from the COVID-19 emergencies and heal the conflicts and inequities that contribute to these fractures and are accentuated by them."
During the most tragic moments of recent history, religious-based actors have built bridges where terrorism and war or indifference have erected barriers.
The Italian G20 presidency organised the Interfaith exchange with around 370 religious leaders and actors, politicians, scholars, and experts from 70 countries attending, either in-person or virtually. The participants included governmental and intergovernmental representatives and Bahai', Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh representatives. Several PaRD members and partners joined the meeting in Bologna, including USAID, World Council of Churches (WCC), Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, KAICIID Dialogue Center, the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, Religions for Peace, and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities.