Digni Global Consultation
November 9-11 Digni gathered member organisations and their partners from 25 different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America for a Global Consultation. The meeting served as a forum to discuss the current global context we work in, our opportunities as faith-based civil society, and how Digni can make strategic choices that maximize the member organisations’ and partners’ impact towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The Global Consultation forum is part of Digni’s Global Innovation project that explores how the global development context is changing and considers the implications this will have for Digni, its members and partners moving forward. As the world changes, our efforts to enhance respect for human rights, reduce poverty, strengthen civil society and restore dignity are affected.
The goal of the Global Innovation project is to reach a joint understanding between Digni, member organisations and partners about the global situation and contexts in which we operate by looking at present trends and potential developments relevant for global diaconal work and North-South partnership. Particular attention is on themes that are especially relevant for development organisations motivated by the Christian faith and their added value in the sector.
We hope that the discussions will be useful for members and partners as they engage in their own planning for the future and develop new organisational strategies, but also how to meet the challenges of the pandemic and bring all the countries closer to achieving the SDGs.
Global Consultation program
The Norwegian Minister for Development Aid, Dag Inge Ulstein, attended the consultation on Monday and talked about the strong role of civil society in Norwegian development policy, and what Norway is doing to fight the pandemic and to achieve the SDGs.
The role the Digni network should play in realizing the SDGs was an important theme during the consultation. What can we do, and what is our added value? How does the setback of the pandemic and the crisis of climate change affect our projects? And how can we reduce our climate impact and build resilient communities in the midst of environmental changes?
North-South diaconal partnership
On Day 2 we focused on the changing landscape in world Christianity and North-South diaconal partnership. Dr. Agnes Abuom, moderator of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, was our guest lecturer for the day. She argued that there has been a shift in the prevalence of Christianity from the global North to the South, but partnership models have remained unchanged. Financial resources, and therefore power, is still heavily concentrated in the global North. Dr. Abuom pointed out the importance of changing the development paradigm, from the traditional aid model to a stronger focus on economic growth and global unity through the SDGs. Achieving this requires the involvement of not only governments, but also civil society and faith-based organizations. In this way, our diaconal work becomes part of a larger agenda.
SDGs and Digni’s strategy
During Day 3 we looked at the Digni networker’s engagement in specific thematic areas of the SDGs and the “leave no one behind” agenda. Partner and member organizations were given an opportunity to raise important points to be considered as Digni develops its new 10-year strategy. Our discussions indicate that the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the importance of building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and other global challenges. This is an important consideration as Digni plans for the future.