Remarks on Session Theme: Religious Commitments to Global Sustainable Development Focusing on Child Hunger, Water, and Sanitation

Sharon Eubank is President, Latter-day Saint Charities; first counselor, General Relief Society Presidency, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint

I thank our impressive Italian hosts for the organization of this year’s conference and am very pleased to join these distinguished speakers today. I attended the first G-20 Interfaith forum in 2014 and have seen it grown in attention and impact over the last 9 years. My name is Sharon Eubank and I’m the president of Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The 17 Sustainable Development goals were originally determined by a coalition of world leaders to focus the conversation on 17 agreed-upon priorities. 3 of the goals correspond to the topic of today’s session: children, hunger, water/sanitation. However, the topic of sustainable development often gets overshadowed by emergency aid.

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Our “Kairos” Moment: The G20 and the Challenge of Immunizing the World

Brett G. ScharffsBrett G. Scharffs is Rex E. Lee Chair, Professor of Law, and Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University

This post is adapted from a presentation at the G20 Interfaith Forum held in Bologna, Italy on September 13, 2021. The Panel, “A ‘Kairos’ Moment: Accountability to Address Inequalities” was co-chaired by Stefano Fassino, a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and Katherine Marshall, Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, Georgetown University. The other speakers were Rajeev Bhargava, Director of the Parekh Institute of Indian Thought at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi; Arntraud Hartman, Professor of Development Economics, SAIS Europe John Hopkins University in Bologna; Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network; and Jonatas Machado, Faculty of Law at the University of Coimbra.

I’m grateful for the framing of today’s discussion, a “Kairos” moment addressing inequalities. As Stefano Fassina explained, Kairos is a Greek term that refers to a unique and unusual opportunity. Our Kairos moment is shaped by the coronavirus crisis. And I believe it is a unique opportunity as illustrated by Professor Katherine Marshall’s framing this with the assignment she gave her students at Georgetown University. She asked them to write a letter to their grandchildren describing what they experienced and how they responded to the pandemic.

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Summary of Remarks: “Religion’s Impact on World Issues and the Necessity of Freedom of Religion”

David H. Moore is Sterling and Eleanor Colton Endowed Chair in Law and Religion; Associate Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies

Moore summarized the global impact of the pandemic and the role religion has played in responding to those challenges:

  • Physical health impacts from the pandemic causing untold infections and deaths. The World Health Organization has released statements on how treatments for HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis have stalled, hindered by the focused response to the pandemic.
  • Mental health impacts from the pandemic with effects of anxiety and depression.
  • Economic impacts include loss of jobs, disruption of supply chains contributing to inflation and debt burdens.
  • Increasing gender inequality in forced lockdowns and gender-based bias.
  • Development effects include lost progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals on hunger, poverty, and education.

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