The role of Religious leaders in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS)

The role of Religious leaders in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS)

On 25-27 September 2015, Heads of State and Government and High Representatives, met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and decided on new global goals-the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

They came up with 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets that will replace the 15 year Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and fulfill all that which was not achieved by the MDGs

The SDGs aim to; end poverty in all its forms everywhere, end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture, ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, ensure access to water and sanitation for all, ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, and reduce inequality within and among countries,

The SDGs also intend to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, conserve and sustainably use the oceans and marine resources for sustainable development, protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss, promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies and strengthen means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

The role of religious leaders

According to the National Director of World Vision Uganda, Gilbert Kamanga, the issues addressed by the global goals are central to all faiths. Achieving SDGs require a shift of attitudes of both Secular and Faith based development actors on the role of faith in development.

Making a presentation at a senior religious leaders’ high level review meeting HIV/AIDS, maternal health and Gender based violence, in October, Kamanga said that Worldwide, 80% of the people identify with a religious group; which makes religious leaders have a big voice in the lives of people.

As a result, Kamanga believes that for religious leaders to have an impact in achieving the SDGs, they should advocate, educate and collaborate both among themselves with broader initiatives.

According to Kamanga, religious leaders should remind political leaders and policy makers of their moral imperative to end extreme poverty. He also said religious leaders should deepen community investment through their institutions to help end poverty as is the number one SDG.

Religious leaders should mobilize and engage the youth to move from awareness to action, establish participatory accountability mechanisms, continue to explore opportunities for collaboration and for sharing a compelling vision of what is required to achieve the SDGs, and also share their extensive experience of working with the world’s most vulnerable and hard to reach places.