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Faith Leaders at St Paul’s to Support Sustainable Development Goals

Faith Leaders at St Paul’s to Support Sustainable Development Goals
Christian, Islamic and Jewish leaders gathered at St Paul’s Cathedral in London to urge the Prime Minister to ensure the UK plays its part in achieving new international goals to tackle poverty and inequality whilst protecting the environment in every country. The event took place one week before Heads of State gather at the United Nations in New York, to approve Sustainable Development Goals for the next 15 years. His Holiness Pope Francis also visited the UN just before the Goals Summit meeting.
“We are here to ask Prime Minister David Cameron to use his power at home and internationally, to keep his promises and ensure that these new Goals change the lives of millions of people for the better,’ said Dr Husna Ahmad, CEO of Global One:
“The Goals have tremendous potential to do good but it will only be realised if leaders such as Mr Cameron put serious resources and determination behind them, as well as making plans for how they will implement them within their own countries.”
Dr Ahmad was joined at St Paul’s by the Reverend Steve Wild, President of the Methodist Conference; Dr Jill Barber, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference; Ibrahim Mogra, Imam and Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain; Remona Aly, media consultant and former deputy editor of Emel magazine; Major Heather Poxon, Director of International Development, Salvation Army; Phillip Clarke, General Secretary of Congregational Federation and the Very Revd Michael Persson, Vice Chairman Lutheran Council of Churches and Rector of the Swedish Church in London.  
The gathering was organised by Christian Aid, and the group was welcomed and joined by the Revd Canon Mark Oakley, Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, who said:
“The eight Millennium Development Goals made no mention of human rights and did not specifically address economic development. They gave targets for poor countries to achieve with financial help from wealthy states. Now, with the SDGs, every country is expected to take responsibility. It is a promise to frame political agendas differently. These are goals for a more globalised century, reminding us that history should be able to see that our generations had a humane soul and a real desire to end the curse of poverty and improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable.”
Dionne Gravesande, Head of Church Advocacy at Christian Aid, added: “One of the most important aspects of the new Sustainable Development Goals is their insistence on ‘leave no-one behind’. In a world so stricken with inequality and discrimination, that is a precious promise and I hope all faith communities will help to hold world leaders to it.”
The Sustainable Development Goals replace the existing Millennium Development Goals from the start of 2016. Around 130 Heads of State attended the United Nations General Assembly in New York (25 – 27 September), to approve the new goals.
People of faith may be interested in the Prayer For Everyone action, which takes place from 24 September until 1 October and involves praying for the Sustainable Development Goals.  The work of St Paul’s Institute covers many of the key areas covered by the goals and more information on relevant events, articles and reports can be found on the Institute’s website.