27 June 2012
Faith partnership principles launched
The work of faith groups to tackle poverty around the world was applauded by the British government at the launch of the Faith Partnership Principles.
Speaking at Lambeth Palace, secretary of state for international development, Andrew Mitchell, said the paper set the foundation for "stronger and even more important relationships between government and faith groups".
Before an audience from a wide range of faith groups, including the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, he went on to say: "All of us share the conviction that a more prosperous and peaceful world is the best legacy we can leave future generations.
"I've seen the way it is faith groups that provide health and education when there is no one else to do it."
The Faith Partnership Principles paperwas launched by the Department for International Development (DfID) following a year-long process of consultation and marks a new era of understanding and cooperation between government and faith groups. The paper sets out principles to guide DfID's relationship with faith groups, to build greater common understanding; mutual respect; and cooperation in overcoming poverty.
Responding to the secretary of state, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said: "What we share with each other as faith communities is a vision of humanity that speaks not just of rights but of the honour due to human beings, an honour that informs and drives our commitment to international development.
He concluded by saying: "Evidence of change is evidence of liberation and transformation and that is what we want to see.
"This is a watershed moment and a document of immense importance."
The paper was drawn up by a working group that included Alliance member organisations Tearfund and World Vision, as well as Christian-based development organisations Christian Aid, CAFOD, Progressio and the Church of England. The working group also included representatives from Jewish, Muslim and Sikh organisations.
The Faith Partnership Principles will be implemented through investigating the best practice of faith groups in development and the establishment of a community of learning that will map the work of faith groups. This group will seek to document the added value and effectiveness of approaches used by faith groups and produce guidance on evaluating the impact of faith groups.
The launch was followed by a discussion entitled 'Faith, Poverty and Justice' between Professor Gurharpal Singh, Dr Severine Deneulin and Mr Faud Nahdi. Professor Singh commented that: "In the south religion hasn't gone away. Religious organisations have the potential to work better than other civil society organisations." Dr Deneulin said: "Faith communities have articulated their own vision of living well."