A020 Support Decade of Action to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring,
That the 80th General Convention express continued support for the ways in which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become the cornerstone of development policy and action of the Episcopal Church’s institutions, agencies, dioceses, and congregations and provided a framework for approaching the Church’s call to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention encourage all parishes, dioceses, and jurisdictions to support the UN’s Decade of Action (2020-30) to achieve the SDGs by (1) educating themselves about the SDGs using United Nations, Anglican Communion and Episcopal Church resources; (2) developing their own educational resources to translate the core Christian values and imperatives of the SDGs in ways that can be easily grasped, shared, and put into action; (3) undertaking self-audits to assess how their existing mission work and ministries already address the SDGs; and (4) sharing stories about how they are working toward the SDGs and furthering the work that Jesus calls all of us to do; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention commend and acknowledge Episcopalians who are already working towards the SDGs, including the Episcopal presence at the annual UN High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs and Episcopal Relief & Development which continues to educate the Church about the SDGs and work toward the SDGs through its programs and priorities.
General Convention and Executive Council have previously affirmed the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through 2015-A021 Continue the Financial Commitment to International Development Programs (affirmed by Executive Council in October 2015), 2018-B026 Endorse the UN Sustainable Development Goals as the Basis for Policy and Action, and 2018-B027 Encourage Gender-Inclusive Responses to Climate Change. These resolutions have established the Church’s endorsement of the overall goals of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the principle of using the SDG framework, as well as linking that support to concrete financial commitments of 0.7% of operating budgets. Episcopal Relief & Development has taken the lead in educating the Church about the SDGs, in addition to contributing to the Goals through its projects.
In September 2019, the UN Secretary-General called for a Decade of Action to advance achievement of the SDGs and acknowledge the need for action on global, local, and individual levels. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all 17 SDGs and shown that what began as a health crisis has quickly become a human and socio-economic crisis. As the pandemic continues to impede progress towards the SDGs, it also makes their achievement all the more urgent and necessary.
In response, the Church needs to expand its focus beyond funding to education at the parish and diocesan level so that all Episcopal faith communities can understand the Christian values and imperatives at the root of the SDGs. Existing UN, Anglican and Episcopal resources can be adapted to speak prophetically within local contexts. Similarly, the resolution seeks through self-audits to reveal existing ministries, local and global, which further the work that Jesus has called us to do as well as contribute to achievement of the SDGs. Reports on these self-audits would provide valuable input to the Church’s representatives to the United Nations, enabling them to accurately map and lift up the Church’s work to achieve the SDGs in the UN context.