The United Nations and faith-based organisations – ‘a clear invitation to partnership’
Lynn Green reports on a meeting hosted by Christian Aid with the Deputy General Secretary for the United Nations
On Monday morning I was privileged to be invited to a breakfast round table meeting hosted by Christian Aid. Our guest was Ms Amina Mohammed, the Deputy General Secretary for the United Nations.
The 20 of us who gathered represented Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups together with aid and development charities. After brief introductions from Amanda Mukwashi (Chief Executive, Christian Aid) and Ms Mohammed, there was an opportunity for us to feedback to the UN about the strengths and challenges for faith-based organisations partnering with the UN to achieve the 17 Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. These goals were identified through a four-year global conversation that was facilitated by the UN and launched in 2015.
The global reach and local rootedness of faith-based organisations was widely celebrated as a key strength and there was also a shared passion to address the root causes that prevent the flourishing of inclusive economies for all. As Ms Mohammed said repeatedly, ‘We want to see a world where no one is left behind.’
‘We are facing huge headwinds’, Ms Mohammed shared, with so many of the issues we face ‘running across borders.’ What is needed is a fresh ‘globalisation of solidarity’ that hopes and works for the common good of humanity.
I was particularly struck by the universal application of the 17 SDGs and the challenge they present to us in the UK. One participant highlighted the rise in child poverty as an example of this; another, the huge challenges of responding to climate change. There was also a common thread expressed about the erosion of trust and the need for accountability.
It was recognised that faith-based organisations and authentic leaders can be part of building trust within communities and across the global “village”. Furthermore, there was a call for governments, multi-nationals and financial institutions to be accountable for their progress against the 17 SDGs.
It was a stimulating and visionary gathering. Ms Mohammed offered a clear invitation to partnership and participation and also urged us to see that it is time for bold, courageous and ambitious action. A definite echo of what I am sensing that “the Spirit is saying to the churches” at this time.
Top | Amina Mohammed, the Deputy General Secretary for the United Nations, alongside Amanda Mukwashi, Chief Executive, Christian Aid (Christian Aid, Twitter)
Middle | Lynn Green (left) alongside Amanda Mukwashi and Amina Mohammed (Amina Mohammed, Twitter)
Lynn Green is General Secretary of our Baptist Union