Roundtable Religion and Sustainable Development

Started by the Amsterdam Centre for Religion and Sustainable Development

06/06/2018 | 11:39 AM

On Monday June 4, the recently established Amsterdam Centre for Religion and Sustainable Development started a series of roundtables discussing the SDG-agenda (Sustainable Development Goals) with a first meeting on the value-dimension of the framework. Academics from various disciplines met with representatives of the Dutch government and of faith based NGOs to discuss the role of religion in the Sustainable Development agenda.

The Netherlands SDG coordinator Hugo von Meijenfeldt highlighted key elements of the SDG framework while sociologist Alastair Ager provided a fundamental critique of the agenda’s hidden value base. Anthropologist Brenda Bartelink discussed the connection between grassroot and policy levels and economist Sharda Nandram plead for integrative intelligence and holistic approaches, inspired by Hindu traditions.

The discussion focused on the need to distinguish between different dimensions of religion and on specific challenges in different contexts and for different development goals. One key question proved to be how religious questions and insights can play a role in the secular language of societal debates. The roundtable stressed the need to report more concretely and specifically on the roles of religion in aiming for the Sustainable Development Goals. The next roundtable will be held in the fall of 2018.