G20 Interfaith Forum 2018: Argentina

Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development:
Religious Contributions for a Dignified Future

The 2018 G20 Interfaith Forum has concluded in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The inaugural meetings were held in the Auditorio Manuel Belgrano in the historic Palacio San Martín of Argentina’s Cancillería, the Ministry of Foreign and Religious Affairs, and sessions continued in the principal venue at the nearby Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel and Convention Center, the Episcopal Conference of Argentina, and the National Library of the Argentine Republic. [Follow the Forum on Twitter.]

This was the fifth annual event in a series of G20 Interfaith Forums held in relation to the meetings of the international “Group of Twenty” (G20) Economic Summit. Watch the space for reports on this outstanding event.

Previous Interfaith Forums have been held in Gold Coast, Australia (2014); Istanbul, Turkey (2015); Beijing, China (2016); and Potsdam, Germany (2017). The 2018 Interfaith Forum was held in anticipation og the with the thirteenth G20 Summit, which takes place in Buenos Aires 30 November – 1 December 2018. (Summary videos and programs of previous events can be viewed here.)

Rationale. The annual G20 Interfaith Forum creates a network of networks, bringing opinion leaders such as political leaders, academics, lawyers, and civil society leaders together with faith and interfaith leaders from around the world for three days of discussion and dialogue that highlight the role that religion can play in promoting the goals of successive G20 Economic Summits. The Forum helps identify and showcase the policy and societal contributions of faith traditions and philosophies on forefront global issues, while creating opportunities for communication and relationship building, and raising the profile of participating communities, groups, and organizations.

Objective. The aim is to draw on interfaith insight and experience to develop recommendations regarding priorities that the Argentine government has identified for this year’s G20 Summit as well as the broader objectives of future G20 Summits. More generally, the objective is to find ways for different groups to work together to strengthen human development understood in the broadest sense, among other things through promoting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The hope is that dialogue and networking facilitated by the Forum will raise the level and effectiveness of religious input on major global policy issues.

Forum Title and Theme

The overarching theme for this year’s G20 Interfaith Forum is “Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development: Religious Contributions for a Dignified Future. The Forum will include three days of presentations, panel discussions, and working group sessions aimed at building networks and developing concrete policy recommendations on the following subthemes:

Forum Subthemes

  • Inequality, Religion, and the Future of Work
    • Accommodating Religion in the Workplace of the Future
    • Religious Perspectives on Innovation, Labor, and Education
    • Equalizing Opportunities for the Future
  • Religion, Environmental Change, and a Sustainable Food Future
    • Protection of the Environment
    • Religion and the Fight against Hunger
    • Food Security and Environmental Concerns
  • Religion, Urgent Global Priorities, and the G20 Agenda
    • Religion, Refugees, and Migration
    • Religious Perspectives on Countering Violent Extremism
    • Religious Contributions to Conflict Resolution
    • Freedom of Religion or Belief as a Precondition for Other Religious Contributions
  • Religion, Good Governance and Sustainable Development
    • Sustainable Finance and Financial Inclusion
    • Development of New Economies
    • Promoting Improved Treatment of Women

The G20 Interfaith Forum Structure

The program will be held in Buenos Aires from 26-28 September 2018. Since the program will commence on the morning of the 26th, participants coming from outside the Buenos Aires area are advised to arrive the day before. The program consists of an array of presentations drawing on leading expertise and global diversity. Based on increasing interest over the years, we are preparing for 200 or more participants and attendees. While ties to the overall G20 process remain informal, the Argentinian G20 organizers have displayed a strong interest in the work emanating from the G20 Interfaith Forum initiatives, recognizing their potential for making a strong and independent, internationally-based contribution to the overall G20 process. As in past years, we have organized a small number of regional pre-Forum meetings that can feed recommendations into our final event and on to G20 leaders. This work will be further deepened through focused working groups developing concrete policy recommendations regarding various G20 themes. We are happy to work closely and synergistically with other developing programs and engagement groups in the G20 process.
The Forum is being organized by the G20 Interfaith Forum Association, in collaboration with many other organizations. A list of collaborating institutions is available here and below.
Simultaneous translation of all sessions will be provided in English and Spanish. 
Tentative Schedule of Events

Day One (September 26):
  • Inaugural Session with Keynote, Political, and Religious Leaders, to be held in the Auditorio Manuel Belgrano, Cancillería Argentina, Esmeralda 1212-CABA 
  • Forum reception
  • Plenary session on “Inequality, Religion, and the Future of Work”
  • Parallel sessions on labor-related issues, refugees, and other religion and human rights issues
Day Two (September 27): 
  • Plenary session on “Religion, Environmental Change, and a Sustainable Food Future”
  • Parallel sessions on religion and the environment, food security, and anti-corruption efforts
  • Plenary session on “Religion, Urgent Global Priorities, and the G20 Agenda”
  • Parallel sessions on the future of education, addressing religious violence, religious freedom and anti-discrimination norms, global health challenges, and conflict resolution 

Day Three (September 28):

  • Plenary session on “Advancing the Work of Religiously Affiliated Humanitarian Organizations”
  • Plenary session on “Religion, Good Governance, and Sustainable Development”
  • Concluding Plenary 
Some adjustments may be made to the foregoing rough schedule. It is anticipated that arrangements for exhibits relevant to the Forum may be arranged. 
The G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires will emphasize linkages between Argentinian priorities and other urgent global issues. For example, we anticipate highlighting Latin American or developing world perspectives on the various subthemes. We will also take into account perspectives of indigenous peoples. While Argentina does not face a major refugee issue, it does face migration challenges, and these are related issues about which religious voices have much to say. Similarly, issues regarding sustainable food supplies are inevitably linked to broader environmental issues. Providing opportunities for dignified labor holds the key to solving many of the problems of youth radicalization. The Forum will explore perspectives on human development deriving from religious sources and exploring how these can be integrated synergistically with broader strategies for facilitating achievement of the UN’s sustainable development goals. 
Participants: In each of the foregoing areas, experts from a wide range of religious, national, academic, and policy backgrounds will be brought together to raise the level of discourse on the relevant issues and to develop practical recommendations. Ongoing working groups will be commissioned with an eye to the future to cultivate further study of particular issues where religious voices are particularly well-positioned to make recommendations and to encourage implementation. The aim will be to explore ways that religious communities can assume responsibility and contribute distinctive ideas and solutions that can interact with and reinforce the efforts of public and civil society institutions.
The annual G20 Interfaith Forum brings together opinion leaders such as political leaders, faith and interfaith leaders, experts and activists, and representatives of relevant networks from around the world for three days of discussion and dialogue as a substantial contribution to the G20 Summit process. Those participating in the various Forum working sessions will be encouraged to confer in advance to identify key issues and to develop concrete policy recommendations. The Forum will also bring together youth leaders from various religious backgrounds to contribute insights on various Forum themes. Interested persons may attend at no cost, provided they register by sending an email with name, institutional affiliation, and email to [email protected] and receive (subject to space availability) a confirmation that they are registered. 
Extracurricular programs:
  • Specially arranged tours to important historic and religious sites in the area may be available. 
  • Meetings with religious and governmental leaders. 
  • There is a possibility that special meetings may be arranged by various collaborating institutions or religious communities.
Venue: Palacio San Martin, Auditorio Manuel Belgrano, Cancillería Argentina, Esmeralda 1212-CABA, Buenos Aires and Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel and Convention Center. 
The annual G20 Interfaith Forums have attracted increasing numbers of government, academic and interfaith leaders. For information on these events, see our website of past Forums here. This site contains leads to the official web pages for past Interfaith Forums that include programs, speakers, videos of many of the Forum speakers, and so forth. 
Collaborating Institutions
  • A Common Word Among the Youth (ACWAY), United Kingdom
  • African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS)
  • Alianza de Iglesias Presbiterianas y Reformadas de América Latina (AIPRAL)
  • Amity Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, New Delhi, India
  • Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University
  • Brunel Law and Religion Research Group, United Kingdom
  • CARITAS – Secretariado para América Latina y el Caribe de la Pastoral Social (SELACC)
  • Center for Reflection and Social Action (CREAS) / ACT Alianza, Argentina
  • Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue, Griffith University, Australia
  • Center for Research and Training in Interfaith Relations, Morocco
  • Center on Religion, Law and Economy in the Mediterranean Area, Insubria University, Como, Italy
  • Centro de Diálogo Intercultural Alba, Argentina
  • Christian Aid
  • Comisión de Pastoral Social Conferencia Episcopal, Argentina
  • Comisión Nacional Justicia y Paz, Argentina
  • Conferencia Episcopal Latinoamericana (CELAM – DEJUSOL)
  • Consejo Argentino para la Libertad Religiosa (CALIR), Argentina 
  • Consorcio Latinoamericano de Libertad Religiosa
  • Department of Law and Religion, Complutense University, Spain
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), GmbH, Germany
  • Ética y Economía 
  • Globethics.net
  • Institute for Policy, Advocacy, and Governance, Bangladesh 
  • Instituto Argentino Jacques Maritain
  • Instituto para el Diálogo Interreligioso, Argentina
  • International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS), Brigham Young University, United States
  • International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS), Milan, Italy
  • International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD)
  • International Religious Liberty Association
  • International Shinto Foundation
  • Islamic Relief USA
  • KAICIID Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue
  • Ma’din Academy, India
  • Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany
  • NALSAR (National Academy of Legal Studies and Research) University of Law, Hyderabad, India
  • Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights
  • Oxford Society of Law and Religion, United Kingdom
  • Peres Academic Center Law School, Rehovot, Israel
  • Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD), Argentina
  • Programa Internacional sobre Democracia, Sociedad y Nuevas Economías de la Universidad de Buenos Aires (PIDESONE), Argentina
  • Project Ploughshares, Canada
  • Purdue University Fort Wayne, United States
  • Regent’s Park College, Oxford University, United Kingdom
  • Religions for Peace
  • Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy, University of Winnipeg, Canada
  • Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation—Section on Law and Religion and Canon Law, Spain
  • Sant’Edigio Community, Italy
  • United Religions Initiative
  • World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC)
  • World Faiths Development Dialogue
  • World Jewish Congress