At the start of 2020, marking the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+25), a full day workshop took place at the Church Center for the United Nations. On 28 January, SGI together with the World Council of Churches, ACT Alliance, Islamic Relief USA, The United Methodist Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church, United Religions Initiative, UN Women, and the United Nations Population Fund put together this “Preparatory Workshop to explore the specific challenges and opportunities for faith based organizations to engage in the Beijing+25 review linking to the UN anniversary”. The organizers are also co-sponsors of the Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith Based Organizations in International Affairs UN75 and Beijing+25 anticipated to take place in January 2021. The day consisted of panels, presentations, discussions and small group work through the world café methodology.
The purpose of the workshop was to develop a collective strategy to present faith voices within the Beijing+25 Review and to ensure that faith organizations through their commitments are included in the Beijing+25 review process and thematic clusters. It was organized by Over 75 participants gathered to learn more about the current difficulties being faced and the Generation Equality campaign by UN Women, and to take part in discussions on ways faith based organizations can effectively contribute to advancing gender equality, and opportunities for further collaboration. Ivy Koek of SGI moderated the panel on Women, Peace and Security which included Simona Cruciani, Political Affairs Officer for the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, Audrey Kitagawa, Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and Dinah Lakehal, Program Officer for the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders. The workshop ended with an “Interfaith Service on Gender Justice” co-sponsored by the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations at the Tillman Chapel held in the spirit of World Interfaith Harmony Week. [Photo credit: Simon Chambers, ACT Alliance]