Cover photo credit: PaRD
CYNESA took part in the first General Assembly of Members of the International Partnership on Religion and Development (PaRD) which was held from 24 -27 June at the Ecumenical Centre “Château de Bossey” in Switzerland. PaRD is an initiative of the Government of Germany that brings together governmental and intergovernmental entities, Civil Society Organizations and Faith-based Organizations from all over the world to collectively improve the impact of religion and values in sustainable development and humanitarian assistance. It was established in February 2016. CYNESA has been a member of PaRD as a faith-based organization since 2016 and was represented at the general assembly by Hellen Mugo.
PaRD’s areas of joint engagement are knowledge exchange, capacity building and joint advocacy. Currently its members mainly focus on three thematic work-streams: SDG 16 on “Sustaining Peace”, SDG 5 on “Gender Equality and Empowerment” and SDG 3 on “Health”.
The general assembly which was hosted by World Council of Churches and sponsored by EDA/ SDC brought together 81 participants to discuss, finalize and approve the governance structure and to establish next steps for the PaRD multi-stakeholder-partnership.
Among the issues discussed were the vision and governance structure for PaRD and the terms of reference for the steering group, the work-streams and the PaRD secretariat. PaRD members present endorsed and adopted the new vision and governance structure for PaRD as well as the Terms of Reference. The PaRD membership categories that were previously used were discarded hence there would no longer be a distinction between PaRD members and PaRD partners; all would be called members. The possibility to have additional work streams in future was also discussed in order to incorporate members whose work extended beyond the 3 existing work streams. It was also agreed that a common membership growth strategy, with a primary focus on new members from the Global South and going beyond traditional DAC-donors, would be jointly implemented by members and secretariat going forth.
Limited membership and representation from the Global South was noted a major concern by participants. For instance, CYNESA was the only African organization present in the assembly, besides the AU which is an intergovernmental entity.
PaRD is governed by a Steering Group (SG) comprising 3 representatives from governmental entities, 3 from multilateral entities and 6 from CSOs/FBOs, as well as the Head of the PaRD secretariat ex officio. The main role of the SG is to provide guidance and oversight for PaRD membership and its secretariat. A new Steering Group was elected by the three respective membership constituencies and confirmed by acclamation by the plenary. Hellen of CYNESA was elected into the SG as a representative of the CSO/FBOs.
The next PaRD General Assembly will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2019 on invitation by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
CYNESA Board Member.