World Evangelical Alliance Liaison Office Geneva  

The importance of nations

The sustainable development goals (SDG’s) have a goal dedicated to peaceful nations, Goal  16: Promote  peaceful  and inclusive societies  for  sustainable  development,  provide access  to  justice  for  all  and  build  effective,  accountable  and  inclusive  institutions  at all levels.

Much of what we involve in from Geneva centers around this Sustainable Development Goal. The following requirement is important to remember: No borders, no justice. Or rather, no social justice. State institutions are necessary for peace and prosperity. 

But state institutions are not enough. History shows that diversity is necessary for sustainable governance. And diversity is provided by a society of responsible citizens and a free civil society. Some call this a social "ecosystem for public problem-solving" in which government is only part. U.N. secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has asserted that the civil society is the oxygen of democracy as it acts as a catalyst for social progress and economic growth. The civil society, according to the Secretary General ‘plays a critical role in keeping government accountable, and helps represent the diverse interests of the population.’

Faith communities historically have invented the civil society and educated their members to evolve from being subjects to responsible citizens. They are the key inside the country to achieve sustainable social stability. Take the United States. In 1800 a political refugee to that country, Chateaubriand, thought the country was too diverse to be successful. He misunderstood the habits of diverse religious communities that formed the core of a responsible civil society. These diverse groups had a resource that economics and military forces or popular political sentiment cannot render to nations in a sustainable way. They kept away from government and government kept away from them. But they acted as moral forces in society. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ramos Horta: “Diversity is wealth”. 

We help faith communities to use the U.N. institutions in Geneva to build peace and prosperity in their nation by profiling themselves in their nations as responsible civil society. Each society is different but keeping that in mind a country's sustainable success is determined by the diversity of its civil society. Responsible faith communities provide the bulk of it.