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PaRD’s 2019 General Assembly of Members: Bringing Child Participation and Protection to the Heart of the Discussion

PaRD Steering Group

Ms. María Lucía Uribe represented Arigatou International at the General Assembly of Members of the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD), which gathered its 105 current members from 1 to 3 May 2019, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Arigatou International is also a member of the PaRD Steering Group and an active participant of PaRD’s Sustaining Peace work-stream, which focuses on SDG16. The work stream’s efforts are centered on building the evidence base on the contributions of faith actors to peace. Arigatou International contributes to the work stream by bringing the expertise on and perspective of children and the importance of preventing violence against them to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda.

On the first day, the work-streams’ co-leads, as well as the Steering Group, came together to review the achievements from the previous year and held preliminary meetings to plan the following two days. Participants had the opportunity to listen to inspiring stories of religion and faith at the annual fireside chat on “One decade to go until 2030.”

The Steering Group and all work-streams presented their annual reports during the second day, followed by an interactive panel discussion. The keynote address was delivered by Rev. Dr. Kenneth Mtata, General Secretary, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, on the topic of Shrinking Space for Civil Society and the Role of Religious Actors. The diversity of the panel reflected the nature of PaRD as a partnership of governmental and intergovernmental entities, as well as religious and civil society organizations.

On the third day, Dr. Marie Juul Petersen, Senior Researcher at The Danish Institute for Human Rights, presented her study titled “EU Member State Engagement with FBOs. An ‘Added Value’?” Her input was followed up by a responding panel.

The work-streams gathered each day to review their work and to plan activities for the 2019 – 2020 period. Through an Open Fora, Ms. Uribe presented the Multi-Religious Study on the Contributions of Religious Communities to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is being carried out by Arigatou International, in close collaboration with the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children (SRSG) and other key partners.

PaRD is a unique platform that brings together governmental and intergovernmental entities with diverse civil society organizations and faith-based organizations, to engage the social capital and capacities vested in diverse faith communities for sustainable development and humanitarian assistance in the spirit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The next General Assembly of Members will be held in South Africa, in September 2020.

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