Faith-based action framework to end extreme poverty

The Faith-based Action Framework to End Extreme Poverty and Realize the SDGs outlines a series of strategies that faith leaders and communities are committed to in order to help end the scourge of extreme poverty and advance sustainable development—by restoring right relationships among people, affirming human dignity, and opening the door to the holistic development of all people.

The Framework builds on the “Ending Extreme Poverty: A Spiritual and Moral Imperative” statement and initiative, which was launched in April 2015 by over 40 global religious and faith-based organization leaders. The statement was drafted by a diverse group of multi-faith leaders who worked collaboratively to identify and draw upon the shared moral commitments that unite their respective faith traditions to eliminate extreme poverty. The statement has helped to align faith-based organizations and religious leaders from across multiple faith traditions around the shared goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. It has already galvanized greater awareness and action in advancing this goal in the context of the broader Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Leaders are now at a stage of translating the spirit of the statement into more concrete and actionable collaboration on global, national, and local levels.

The Framework is organized around three core commitments that emanate from the moral imperative statement. First, the commitment to generate and be guided by evidence. Second, the commitment to advocate by engaging the moral authority of religious leaders and their substantial constituencies. Advocacy will be pivotal for holding governments and other development actors accountable to their promises related to the SDGs. Third, the commitment to foster more effective collaboration between religious and other development actors, including governments, the World Bank Group, the United Nations and the private sector.

The Framework has been developed to help move from widely shared moral principles to bold and pragmatic action at the global, regional, national and local level to realize the SDGs. Adapting and utilising the Framework will need the involvement and leadership of religious organizations on each of these same levels, thereby bridging local realities with global policy discourse. Thus, the Framework must be adapted to respect variations across geographical and religious landscapes. The Framework seeks to honor, connect and—when appropriate—build upon existing initiatives and to help advance the most efficient use of limited time and resources.

The Framework builds on elements captured in the statement that are sine-qua-non to ending extreme poverty, which include a comprehensive approach that tackles the underlying causes of poverty—including the abuse of power, preventable illness, a lack of access to quality education, joblessness, corruption, violent conflicts, and discrimination against women, ethnic minorities and other groups. Ending extreme poverty will also necessitate a change in the habits that cause poverty—greed and waste, numbness to the pain of others, and exploitation of people and the natural world. A holistic and sustainable approach is needed that transforms cultures and institutions, and hearts as well as minds and increases effective collaboration across sectors.

The Framework is a working document that will be discussed and refined during a strategy session of FBO and religious leaders on the 24 September just prior to a High Level Event. In this session, religious leaders will share the Framework with UN, World Bank Group and government officials. Going forward, there will be an open invitation for additional input and involvement from a broader array of faith-based and religious organizations. Insofar as the battle against poverty is a society-wide challenge, faith leaders and communities are coming together with determination to share in: the responsibility of implementing the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, in the monitoring and evaluation of progress, and ensuring the universal application and ultimate success of the SDGs by 2030.