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Featuring Over 2,000 Participants from 90 Countries, Seventh Annual G20 Interfaith Forum Concludes with Strong Focus on COVID, Inequalities and Climate Change

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Attracting an extraordinary assembly of diverse representatives from world religious and interreligious networks and communities, the seventh annual G20 Interfaith Forum concluded its meetings on Saturday after five days of sessions that addressed the COVID-19 emergencies, climate change, social, racial, and economic disparities, environmental challenges, the preservation and safeguarding of sacred sites including places of worship, and other pressing issues. Originally intended to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, host of the 2020 G20 Summit, the conference was conducted virtually in response to the global pandemic. Attendance exceeded 2,000 participants from more than 90 countries.

At the closing of the Forum, the organizing partners, including the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), the G20 Interfaith Association, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and Saudi Arabia’s National Committee for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, issued a joint statement calling for more robust representation at global policy making tables for religious leaders and faith-based actors.

The full statement can be found HERE with an excerpt below:

The five-day Forum brought together prominent religious leaders from across the faith spectrum, interreligious leaders, and distinguished members of faith-based organizations as well as government officials, senior officials of United Nations entities, opinion formers and more than two thousand participants from all over the world to debate a wide array of issues ranging from hate speech to Covid-19 to gender parity and economic displacement.

Recommendations considered during the Forum are grounded in the experience and wisdom of the world of faith and the experience and insights of religious actors and institutions. Proposals address all aspects of the global human development endeavor as framed in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Priority recommendations will be submitted to the November G20 Leaders’ Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Given the relevance of the world of religion to policy making, as demonstrated by the success of this year’s G20 Interfaith Forum and the process leading up to it, a central recommendation is that the time has come for formal recognition of the interfaith platform of the G20 Interfaith Forum as an official engagement group in future G20 Summits.

In closing remarks, H.E Faisal bin Muaammar, Secretary General of KAICIID, called for greater alignment between religious leaders and policy makers: “The G20 Interfaith Forum has demonstrated the vast breadth and scope of the work carried out by religious actors. I would like to reiterate my call to the current host of the G20 Summit, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the next host, the Italian Republic, that full consideration be given to the inclusion of the G20 Interfaith Forum as an official engagement group of the G20 itself.”

“The depth and scope of participation this year was truly significant,” said Professor Cole Durham, President of the G20 Interfaith Forum Association and Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. “Never before have we seen a more urgent need for religious communities to work with political leaders to address the unprecedented and interrelated challenges facing the world today.”

The crisis posed by the COVID-19 pandemic …

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