New website for AHRC network 'Keeping Faith in 2030: Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals'.
· Professor Emma Tomalin, Centre for Religion and Public Life, University of Leeds firstname.lastname@example.org
· Dr Jörg Haustein, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, email@example.com
· Shabanna Kidy, Islamic Relief Academy (non-academic project partner)
We are convening a new network funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK which involves academics and faith-based development actors. The network aims to enhance international exchange about the role of religions in defining, implementing, and safeguarding sustainable development, as codified in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Religion is a major cultural, social, political, and economic factor in many ODA recipient countries, which is why understanding the local religious dynamics and the role of faith actors is crucial for sustainable development. While development practice and development studies had essentially subscribed to a modernist, secular paradigm of social change for much of the 20th century, this has begun to change. Greater portions of development aid are now channelled via so-called faith-based initiatives or organisations, and religion is increasingly recognised as a human resource rather than just an obstacle to development. Many religious groups have also been involved perceptibly in development policy, by adopting and heralding the Millennium Development Goals and through consultations in the drafting of the new SDGs.
Aims of the network
Several issues need addressing in order to broaden existing initiatives in religions and development research and engagement, so that they can better respond to the challenges and opportunities generated via the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We anticipate that this network will
1) Strengthen voices from the Global South in the production of academic research on religions and development.
2) Create a platform for exchange and dialogue between scholars and faith actors around religions and development, with a focus on the new SDGs.
3) Improve how we research and understand contemporary religions and development activity globally, including refining robust and comparable methods for gathering data and generating evidence.
Planned activities of the network so far
· Consultation event with faith-based organisations and other actors involved in religions & development practice: 13th February 2017, Islamic Relief Academy, Birmingham
· Conferences in London, New Delhi and Addis Ababa to bringing together academics, faith actors and policy makers working toward the new SDGs (2017/18)
· Co-production of good practice guides and policy dossiers
· Interactive website
· Platform for generating pilot projects