Culminating from its annual global G20 Interfaith Forum event in October, the G20 Interfaith Forum has announced its priority recommendations within five areas of focus for consideration by G20 Summit leadership at its Nov. 21 and 22, 2020 meetings in Saudi Arabia. The recommendations focus on issues such as COVID-19, advancing peace and conflict resolution, empowering women, reducing structural inequality and racism and protecting the planet.
The G20 Interfaith Forum, a leading organization dedicated to bringing faith and policy together, offers an annual platform where networks of religiously linked and faith-inspired actors engage on global agendas within the broad framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It calls upon the world’s political leaders to include religious actors in the policymaking process, building policies based on shared values of solidarity, coexistence and respect.
In 2020, the G20 Interfaith Forum recommends that the G20 Summit support more active collaboration between public and religious institutions with an urgent focus on the following five areas:
1. Addressing COVID-19 Emergencies
• Engage religious communities systematically on anti-COVID vaccine development, messaging, and distribution
• Act with religious communities in meeting urgent needs of especially vulnerable communities, including refugees and internally displaced people (IDP)s, scapegoated communities, and women and children
• Collaborate with religious communities in mobilizing, implementing, and assuring accountability for adequate financial packages, including appropriate national debt relief
2. Advancing Peace and Resolving Conflicts
• Collaborate with religious communities to advance a global ceasefire and pursue specific peacemaking actions
• Pursue agreed initiatives under the February 2019 Human Fraternity framework
• Collaborate in addressing hate speech and associated violence
• Strengthen collaborative measures to advance action on refugee and IDP populations
• Act urgently to protect sacred sites and religious and cultural heritage
3. Empowering people through development agendas that promote education, oppose corruption, empower women and reduce structural inequality and racism
• Collaborative action to advance urgent inclusive education reforms
• Strengthen common platforms supporting anti-corruption
• Pursue multi-stakeholder action on human trafficking
• Collaborate to translate commitments to women’s equality and youth engagement
into concrete action plans
• Collaborate with religious communities to combat structural inequality and racism
4. Taking common action to protect the planet
• Support rainforest initiatives
• Action in support of the Paris Climate Change agreement
5. Enhancing and elaborating religion-public sector synergies
• Designate the G20 Interfaith Forum as an Official Engagement Group in future G20 Processes
• G20 support for efforts to link broader human rights efforts to action to address violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief
For more detailed information on each recommendation, click here to see “To the G20 Leaders: A Call to Action.”
“Never before have we seen a more urgent need for religious communities to work with political leaders to address the unprecedented and interrelated challenges facing the world today,” said Professor Cole Durham, President of the G20 Interfaith Forum Association and Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. “If implemented, the collaboration recommendations provided to G20 Summit leadership will help us empower people, safeguard the planet and shape new frontiers.”
“The G20 is the foremost venue for economic and political cooperation to solve global challenges like COVID-19, climate change, and inequality,” said Faisal bin Muaammar, Secretary General, International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID). “I commend Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency for their commitment to engaging and partnering with religious communities and interfaith dialogue to solve these challenges, through the G20 Interfaith Forum 2020, and call on the G20 Leaders’ Summit to acknowledge the importance of religious communities as allies and partners in development by giving them a seat at the policy table through recognition as a formal engagement group to the G20 Process.”
Originating from Saudi Arabia, more than 2,000 prominent religious actors participated in October’s G20 Interfaith Forum events, including a broad spectrum of the world’s religious communities and leading officials and experts from international organizations, governments, academia, and civil society. Featured speakers and participants included global leaders such as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, H.E. Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, Minister of Religious Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, and H.E. Anthony Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia.
Prior to October’s worldwide meetings, the Interfaith Forum hosted several regional consultations focused on the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia and North America.
This year’s events were organized by four partners: the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC), Saudi Arabia’s National Committee for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue (NCIRD), and the G20 Interfaith Forum Association.
About the G20 Process
The Group of Twenty, or the G20, is the premier forum for international economic cooperation. The G20 brings together the leaders of leading economies on Earth.
Collectively, G20 members represent around 80% of the world’s economic output, two-thirds of the global population and three-quarters of international trade. Throughout the year, representatives from G20 countries gather to discuss financial and socioeconomic issues as well as broader humanitarian issues targeted by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The G20 Leaders’ Summit brings together world leaders to discuss international economic cooperation and broader social concerns. The participants in the G20 Summit are Heads of State or Government from 19 countries and the European Union. In addition, leaders of guest countries and representatives of invited regional and international organizations participate in the Summit.
About the G20 Interfaith Forum
The G20 Interfaith Forum seeks global solutions by collaborating with religious thought leaders and political representatives. It builds on vital roles that religious institutions and beliefs play in world affairs, reflecting a rich diversity of institutions, ideas, and values. The membership includes interfaith and intercultural organizations, religious leaders, scholars, development and humanitarian entities, and business and civil society actors.
Convened each year in the host country of the upcoming G20 Summit, the G20 Interfaith Forum offers an annual platform where a network of religiously linked institutions and initiatives engage on global agendas. The goal of the meetings is to contribute meaningful insight and recommendations that respond to and help shape the G20 Summit and thus global policy agendas. The 2020 G20 Interfaith Forum agenda builds on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and additional issues of social cohesion, equity, and sustainability that have been a central underlying theme for the Forum from its inception.