Thursday, June 30, 2022
With the recognition that 85% of the world’s population professes a religious belief; that religious ethical beliefs have strong commitments to the common good; and that faith-based organizations are frontline workers in public health, development, disaster response and humanitarian aid, education, and many other social sectors of society, the United Nations is actively engaging with faith-based organizations co-committed to common causes and the common good. Since Habitat III faith-based organizations and UN-Habitat have slowly but deliberately engaged in a constructive relationship starting in 2017 with the first ever faith-based Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) followed by five more faith-based UTC’s in 2019. In 2018 a hand-full of faith-based organizations attended WUF 9, but that number swelled significantly in WUF10 where an official FBO networking event was held. The representative of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), an active partner of the World Urban Campaign (WUC) since 2017, was elected to the WUC steering committee in 2020 as co-chair of the civil society partner groups. And in 2022 UN-Habitat’s flagship Program SDG Cities made faith communities its sixth “implementing window,” and a dialogue entitled “Faith-based Organizations and the New Urban Agenda: How far have we come? Where to next?” was co-hosted by UN-Habitat and faith based organizations at the High Level Meeting in April, 2022. This proposed event, co-led by UN-Habitat’s SDG Cities Programme and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) (which was also the co-leader of the dialogue at the High Level Meeting), is designed to be a forum for mutual dialogue pertaining to multi-faith organizations becoming SDG Cities implementing partners, especially through involvement in faith-based investment in urban projects that advance the SDG’s through the SDG Cities Programme. This perfectly fits dialogue 6 “Building Urban Resilience” where it states “sustainable urban futures is a multi-sectorial, multidimensional, and multi-stakeholder effort, which requires effective collaboration and cooperation across all scales, and the various dimensions of resilience are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.” The design of the event entails: Step 1. Bringing together multi-faith FBO’s focused on urbanism, especially from the faith-based investment sector. Step 2. Introducing the SDG Cities Programme to multi-faith PBO’s and on-ramps for them to be SDG Cities partners, especially where it pertains to impact investment. Step 3. Dialogue between SDG Cities and multi-faith FBO’s focused on how to become effective SDG Cities implementing partners, and exploration of mutually beneficial opportunities.
1. To further build and strengthen the network of multi-faith FBO’s focused on urbanism, especially from the faith-based investment sector. 2. To continue intentionally and thoughtfully building and strengthening the relationship between UN-Habitat and the global multi-faith urban focused FBO network so that collaborative, effective, and focused work can be undertaken together in cities that advance the New Urban Agenda and the common good. This applies not only to SDG Cities, but all UN-Habitat’s programs and initiatives. 3. While not detracting from objective #2, to specifically kickstart the dialogue between FOB’s and SDG Cities about co-designing how FBO’s can be successful SDG Cities implementation partners, particularly in the area of faith-based investment. A successful relationship can be had, but this event is essential for all the parties to come together at the same time and place at WUF11 to start working out all the practical details.