By Lexi Carley
In conclusion of the Europe Regional Consultation, G20 Interfaith Forum religious leaders, policymakers and experts joined Wednesday morning to report on the focus groups that took place throughout the last month. Each focus group met and discussed ideas in preparation for the official policy recommendations that will be submitted for the G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia later this year. The three focus groups focused on fostering gender equality, safeguarding the planet, and the frontiers at the intersection of governance, faith, and technology.
In the opening remarks after introducing the three topics, COVID-19 was acknowledged:
If those challenges were not enough, COVID cast a veil over everything and made them so messy, even more than before … We urgently need to find solutions this year and going forward that we can pull, if not on the same hope, in the same direction together.
Many of the focus groups placed emphasis on government leaders working with local faiths:
We ask governments to actively create conditions to foster communication between religious leaders and government officials specifically.
These suggestions can be found in the working group recommendations that will be presented at the G20 Summit.
The working groups also focused on global support to help countries affected by the pandemic. They outlined a need for a plan when a vaccine is released to reach all people. It needs to be developed and distributed quickly, but also be universally affordable:
It is not enough to say we care at this time, but to show we care and step up in our responsibilities. We would encourage this to become a way of life and not just a response to current challenges.
At the conclusion of the meeting, participants were reminded about the final road to Riyadh and the G20 Summit occurring next month. All are invited to attend. Visit the G20 Interfaith website to register and to learn more about the event.
Lexi Carley is a Communications Assistant for the G20 Interfaith Forum Association.