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ARC Home > Projects > Major ARC events :
Faith in the Future: UN Bristol Meeting Sept 2015 | Programme, talks and presentations | Bristol Faith Commitments | List of Bristol Commitments | What are the SDGs? | Background to Bristol

Background to Bristol

The Faiths have drawn up Faith Commitments in response to the new Sustainable Development Goals, based on the fact that all faiths have for hundreds - in some case thousands - of years been instrumental in addressing exactly the issues encapsulated in the SDGs. For example, education and healthcare - key SGGs - are central to the compassionate and sacred worldview of each faith.

To explore how the major UN sectors such as UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNICEF can work together with the faiths, and using the language of faith rather than of the UN/NGOs, the 17 new SDGs were grouped into the following themes:
* Justice and Peace
* Creation
* Education
* Lifestyle
* Energy
* Water
* Partnerships...... and, very importantly
* Celebration

Background to the meeting

In 2009 at a meeting in Windsor hosted by HRH Prince Philip, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also present, many faith groups launched long-term action plans to protect the environment. Most of these had seven or eight years to run, and therefore in 2015 most of them are close to completion.

Later in 2012 in Nairobi, 24 faith groups (Christian, Muslim and Hindu) from all over Africa participatedFor the UN to hold a meeting to assess what worked, and to explore the faiths' support of the SDGs, is part of the UN's recognition of the potential for real religious engagement on these key global issues.

Background to the Long-Term Plans

The first Faith Long Term Plans for a living planet were launched at Windsor in 2009 and Nairobi in 2012.

Faith delegates have prepared for the meeting by reviewing how their faith’s long-term plan has progressed. This includes what has been most successful, what has been most difficult, what resources they have created and discovered, what further resources would be useful. And what stories are the most powerful to explain the process.

They have also considered which of the 17 SDGs are of specific interest to the work they already have in hand (while keeping the focus of their organisation) and have drawn up an outline of the key areas that their long term plans will extend into over the next eight to 10 years.

These plans and review will form the heart of the Bristol Meeting and will be presented to the UN General Assembly in late September.

Why Bristol?

Bristol is the European Green Capital City for 2015. It has long been a leading city on ecological issues. It is the home of the Soil Association, Britain’s leading advocate for organic food and farming, as well as the International WildScreen Film Festival, Sustrans (creating and lobbying for an effective cycling network around the country) and was an early advocate of the Transition town movement in the UK.

It has a 1000-year history of multi-faith partnerships. It has also in recent years taken seriously the legacy of its role in the Atlantic Slave Trade in the 18th century, and has created political and cultural programmes to face up to this period of its past. Bristol is the seat of two Bishoprics, one Anglican and one Catholic, as well as home to places of worship of all the major faiths.

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