Faith leaders take Government to task on Sustainable Development Goals

23 November 2018

Bishops sign letter calling for a coherent plan

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The letter draws attention to the concerns of faith leaders over the reliance on foodbanks in the UK

The letter draws attention to the concerns of faith leaders over the reliance on foodbanks in the UK

THREE Church of England bishops are among a coalition of religious leaders who have written to the Prime Minister to urge greater collaboration to drive forward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler; the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes; and the Bishop of Bedford, the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson have signed the letter, along with the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, and leaders of other Christian denominations, and the Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist faiths.

The letter, published on Monday, draws attention to the concerns of these faith leaders over the reliance on foodbanks, growing obesity rates and ill-health, and loss of opportunities in communities across the UK.

It was organised by USPG, and reads: “In 2018 the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development published a report which shows that people and places in the UK are being left behind.

“For the first time we can see what’s happening for people, in our environment and in our economy in one place — thanks to the integrated natures of the SDGs. Only 24 per cent of the SDG targets are on track to be achieved in the UK. We believe that we can do better.”

It calls on the Government to: produce a coherent plan for the SDGs and work collaboratively with them; act on its duty to enable local responses to the SDGs, including working closely with those communities of faith and belief; and appoint a minister for the SDGs.

The letter concludes: “Together we can build a fairer, sustainable, and more prosperous Britain.”

Bishop Atkinson said: “At a time when there is so much in the news about divisions in our nation and in the world, we are seeking to demonstrate that faith communities in the UK are already working for the betterment of our society, and the world, and looking forward to working alongside Government and the British people in taking the vitally important Sustainable Development Goals forward.”

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