Report says FBOs can help drive SDGs as religious group plans to plant 1 million trees in 1,820 locations globally


By: Bamidele Fashube

A new report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with the Parliament of World’s Religions, United Religions Initiative and the Bhumi Global has revealed the significant potential roles of Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) in driving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  

The report titled Faith Action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Progress and Outlook highlighted several intervention actions taken by the FBOs to help in realising the global goals.

The UN also recognised the efforts of the faith-based groups to protecting the environment.

“The potential aggregate impact of faith-based organisations on sustainable development is immense,” says Iyad Abumoghli, director, UNEP Faith for Earth Initiative.

The report highlight as summarised by Abumoghli revealed how 16 congregations of Dominican Sisters across the United States provided $46 million in seed capital for an investment fund that focuses on providing clean energy access in India and the Sub Saharan Africa.

The initiative, he noted made known the power and wealth of religions and their contributions to financing sustainable development.

In addition, the 2020 report rolled out efforts of the Rocha Peru, a Christian Faith Organisation which planted 26, 000 Huarango and other native trees over a space of three years. The tree planting was done with landowners who also manage the forests.

Meanwhile, Huarango is a species of mesquite tree used to surviving in the arid climate of southeastern Peru.

The report also recognised the Vardayini Mata Temple in Maharashtra, India. It reportedly sits next to one of the numerous sanctuaries for the endangered mahseer fish.

“These sanctuaries have conserved the fish as well as stretches of river that remains undammed. Though they have received limited support from the conservation community, for Hindu devotees these fish are sacred.”

The Sikh groups globally, the report noted have united to fight climate change by committing to plant 1 million trees in 1,820 different locations across the world by November.

The project is to honour the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. And the goal is to increase reforestation, decrease air pollution and encourage people to reconnect with nature.

Sikhs in Punjab, India, for instance, have already planted tens of thousands of trees.

In 2017, Shiloh Temple in Minneapolis in the United States of America installed a community solar garden on its rooftop.

“The 730-panel array provides energy to the temple, a neighbouring mosque and 29 residences,” the report stated.

It adds that “community solar is starting to become popular with fate-based organisations as a way of bringing renewable energy to low-income communities. It is also helping to build interfaith solidarity and understanding.”

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