1. Findings and Recommendations

Religion is a mahor cultural, social, political, and economic factor in many official development assistance (ODA) recipient countries. Understanding religious dynamics and the role of faith communities and actors is crucial for sustainable development. While faith communities have endured and thrived the world over, a wave of modernist, secular social change had dominated development practice and discourse from the second half of the 20th century onwards. It had been previously anticipated by a number of scholars, development practitioners and others that religion would become outdated and eventually obselete. However, faith communities, actors and assets continue to occupy a critical space. Accordingly, development discourse and practice today acknowledges the significant role that religion plays in this area. Greater portions of development aid are now channelled via faith-based initiatives/organisations, and religion is increasingly recognised as a resource for – rather than as an obstacle to – development. Many faith actors have also been involve in shaping development policy as wel as committing to the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), codified by the UN. This policy paper is based upon findings from a programmes project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) titled ‘Keeping Faith in 2030: Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals’. Considering the increased attention that has been paid to the collaboration between faith actors and secular global development actors over the past decade or so, the authors wanted to better understand the role that faith actors have played in the SDG process. This project has involved three country conferences and stakeholder workshops (Birmingham in February 2017, New Delhi in December 2017 and Addis Ababa in September 2018) with the final conference held 12-13th February 2019 in London. Report available at: https://religions-and-development.leeds.ac.uk/programmes-network/

More from “Keeping Faith in 2030: Religion and the Sustainable Development Goals”:

2. Workshop Report: Religions and Development in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, September 20th-21st 2018.

3. Citizenship, Marginalities and Development: Marginalised Communities and the Sustainable Development Goals, New Delhi, India.

4. FBO Workshop on Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals, UK



Dr. Jörg Haustein, Professor Emma Tomalin


Policy Paper


Islamic Relief Worldwide






Development, Faith Perspective, Religion, Sustainable Development Goals