A Time for Inspired Leadership and Action
The second decade of the 21st century is upon us and 2010 will be an important year for our collective humanity. It is a year when decisions and actions on climate change and peace and security issues will be critical. In June, Canada hosts an expanded global summit in Huntsville, Ontario, where world leaders will have a unique opportunity to provide the political leadership required to address the challenges before us. As well, we will have reached the two‐thirds point for the deadline to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals – eight goals that, if achieved, would bring hope to millions and be a major step toward a more sustainable global future.(1)
Through the 2010 Interfaith Partnership(2) people in faith communities across Canada and around the world are calling for inspired leadership and action at this critical moment in history. In our diverse faith traditions we have rich histories of addressing poverty, caring for the earth and being peace‐builders. While we confess our own shortcomings and inadequacies, we commit to continuing these life‐giving actions. We urge our government representatives to set aside short‐term agendas and work together for a future that allows all citizens of this planet to thrive.
Power and economic dominance are the basis for inclusion in a G8 and G20 global leaders’ summit.(3) In our faith traditions, power and money are instruments to be used for the good of all. At the summits in 2010, we expect leaders to put first the needs and values of the majority of the world’s population, of future generations and of Earth itself. From our shared values we call on leaders to take courageous and concrete actions:
- to address the immediate needs of the most vulnerable while simultaneously making structural changes to close the growing gap between rich and poor;
- to prioritize long‐term environmental sustainability and halt climate change, while addressing its impacts on the poor;
- to invest in peace and remove factors that feed cycles of violent conflict and costly militarism.
2. The 2010 Interfaith Partnership is a multi‐faith, Canadian and global movement for action on pressing issues of our day. It involves faith communities around the world, dialogue with decision‐makers and a gathering of faith leaders prior to the June 2010 Huntsville Summit. It is the sixth such gathering held in conjunction with G8 summits.
3. Not represented in these summits are 172 members of the United Nations where proposals to address structural causes of poverty and ecological devastation are currently under discussion.
Responses to this statement have come from First Nations, various Christian denominations, Jews, Bah'ai, Buddhists and a number of civil society organizations including Kairos. They are worth reading. A resource kit may be downloaded; it includes multifaith texts, suggestions for interfaith dinner and dialogue. Materials in other languages.