Brazilian primate endorses UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Posted Oct 6, 2015

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Primate of Brazil has welcomed the United Nations’ new programme of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has called on churches in the Province to adopt them so that they can “help to shape our communities into agents of transformation.”

In a letter to the province, the Most Revd Francisco de Assis da Silva, described the SDGs as “a bold agenda” that would “require mobilizing a huge amount of resources.”

He said: “From the Church point of view, we are called to effectively contribute to this project which has a lot to do with our way of living out our mission.

“The marks of Anglican mission oblige us to offer our theological and pastoral contribution to our governmental and social partners as well as to those who walk with us ecumenically and in dialogue – whatever their faith is – to fulfil the SDGs in our local contexts and throughout the whole of the Anglican Communion.”

The SDGs were adopted to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed by the world’s nations 15 years ago to “overcome the state of poverty in countries that showed shameful levels of exclusion in the fields of health, education, distribution of wealth, gender inequality, among other essential points that make up the Human Development Index,” Bishop da Silva said.

“The ambitious programme presented some encouraging results in some of the world’s nations, but still hasn´t reached the desired levels, although it should be recognised that things have improved.

“The economic crises were challenging and the increasing military tension after the 9/11 of 2001, caused an enormous waste of military expenses – a few hundred billion dollars – resulting into diverting the priorities of governments into a greater attention to social affirmative programmes.”

The new programme of SDGs is “more open to civil society participation and less dependent on governments,” Bishop da Silva said. “According to the SDGs, world action is expected in the areas such as eradicating poverty, food security, agriculture, health, education, gender equality, reduction of inequalities, energy, water and sanitation, sustainable consumption and production, climate change, sustainable cities, protection and sustainable use of oceans and terrestrial ecosystems, inclusive economic growth, infrastructure, industrialization, among others.”

The primate continued: “We believe in a God of Justice and of Love. Our God does not rejoice in injustice nor in a system that generates inequality among fellow human beings. Nor does our God rejoice in the selfish and irresponsible use of the environment, which causes serious harm to life on the planet through the selfish and accumulative use of resources which ignores the lives of the less favoured and vulnerable in the world.

“Evangelizing is, essentially, spreading the Good News to the world. I convoke the IEAB (The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil), in all its bodies, to study and share – from the local communities up to the provincial bodies – the platform of the SDGs. The appropriation of this platform will guide us to find ways through which our pastoral leaders may interact to help to shape our communities into agents of transformation.”

The bishop has tasked Provincial bodies to study the platform and to prepare concreate actions that the church can adopt to “keep struggling for a Brazilian society that is democratically strong, economically and socially fair and environmentally responsible.”