The year 2015 will mark the official end to the Millennium Development Goals campaign, an initiative launched by the United Nations in early 2000 to free humanity from extreme poverty and hunger, gender inequality and illiteracy, disease and environmental degradation. As the program draws to its close, African faith leaders representing 23 different faith organizations, met June 30 to July 2, 2014 in Kampala, Uganda to fine-tune their positions and deliberate on the ongoing process of the post 2014 Development Agenda.(click here to download their final statement)
These leaders commended the tangible results that African leaders and international actors have achieved since the inception of the Millennium campaign. They equally took stock of the present realities of the continent. Their analysis of its challenges captures a wide range of issues like poverty and disease, resource harnessing and exploitation, governance and environmental degradation, socio-economic and political exclusion. Well aware of their moral responsibility to defend human dignity and the well-being of their people, the African faith leaders suggested a set of recommendations that better express the deep aspirations of the populations across Africa. The following captures some of the salient points:
- African faith leaders and interested constituencies want people-centered, inclusive, just and holistic development.
- A development agenda that fosters and promotes the values of diversity and human dignity for peaceful coexistence and reconciliation.
- They underscore the importance of investing in young people, women and children, a sure way to harness their resourcefulness for development.
- They strongly advocate for democratic reforms and the rule of law, integrity and accountability.
- Faith leaders call for sustainable development models and the protection of Mother Earth.
- They ultimately want to be involved in the decision-making process of Africa issues.
Many people hailed the Africa Faith Leaders Summit as a historic gathering and a step in the right direction. Summits like this one help to bridge the gap between different faith communities and further reinforce the spirit of togetherness and promotion of religious tolerance. There is no better service that faith organizations could have done to improve the lives of their people at this crucial moment of the UN post-2015 Development Agenda consultations. The Catholic Task Force for Africa (CTFA) supports the initiative and looks forward to working with the Africa faith leaders to find lasting solutions to the problems of the continent.
By Barthelemy Bazemo