At the Conference on Universal Church and Mission 2017, Sr Alison Munro presented a paper on the Implementation of Sustainable Development.
Beginning with the context of South Africa today, she noted the complex reality of the country’s post-apartheid period. Issues, among many, include the still-uncontrolled TB, HIV and AIDS epidemic, the influx of migrants, the faith- based responses provided by various inter-faith groupings, and the over-arching call to address a plethora of socio-economic challenges facing the country.
Perhaps, it was suggested, the Sustainable Development Goals, could be seen as a possible blueprint for the Development agenda, and certainly the principles of Catholic Social Teaching provide a guide to every Christian regarding his or her role. We are called to live as Christ’s disciples, read the signs of the times and exercise mercy and compassion.
There are pitfalls and challenges as well as opportunities for those involved in development work. The agendas of funding agencies, of government, and also of the Church can be obstacles, funding requirements can be manipulative, and inadequate funding can set programmes up for failure. Volunteers and other workers have rights and should not simply be used or abused. Collaboration on programmes benefits everyone, but also requires commitment and investment by all. The AIDS agenda, among others, needs to go back on to political agendas if change is to happen.
And finally, economic growth isn’t about trickle down theories (Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium). People-centred leadership is essential for development and leaders need to be involved….Read more