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On 20-21 June, SDSN Nigeria held a high-level forum entitled “Engaging Religious Leaders in SDG Advocacy, Solutions, and Action.” Nigerian culture is highly motivated by religious beliefs, and religious leaders often help to shape public opinion and spread knowledge. For this reason, SDSN Nigeria is reaching out to these community pillars to use their powerful voices to reach and influence parts of society which may otherwise not engage in a political and social discourse on topics covered by the SDGs.

The forum brought together two dozen leaders from religious umbrella organizations, including the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs and the Christian Association of Nigeria, among others.

 

The main focus of this event, hosted at Osun State University in Osogbo, was to educate religious leaders so they are equipped to mobilize their followers around the SDGs. There were also discussions about providing a moral and spiritual support to the goals.

At the end of the forum, the delegates agreed that:

  • The goals of sustainable development are aligned with the responsibilities of most world religions. Thus, religious leaders cannot shy away from effective participation.
  • The SDGs are critical to our present and our future. All religions must collaborate closely to achieve them within the Agenda 2030 timeframe.
  • The outcomes of the forum will be integrated into their teachings at various worship centers to ensure their congregation understands how to live sustainably.

This forum is in line with SDSN’s broader program of work on strengthening the engagement of the world’s religious communities in the sustainable development agenda. Other efforts include SDSN Spain’s workshop on the first anniversary of the papal encyclical “Laudato Si’ in May 2016; the Vatican Youth Symposium held from 30-31 October, 2016 in partnership with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) and SDSN Youth; and the SDG Academy’s mini-MOOC from 2015 (MOOC trailer, narrated by Bono).