ebbf acting on the SDGs

Why is EBBF involved?

The 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals

At a Summit at the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted a set of 17 goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people everywhere.

The ebbf Governing Board considers that the new UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be an important inspiration for ebbf. Many of the goals that governments have adopted are aligned with ebbf’s own values. A new section of the ebbf web site includes relevant materials, including a list of SDG targets relevant to business, and a selection of Baha’i texts relevant to each of the SDGs.

The SDGs are also an opportunity for partnerships with many like-minded groups and individuals. The 2030 Agenda involves governments as well as parliaments, the UN system and other international institutions, local authorities, indigenous peoples, civil society, business and the private sector, the scientific and academic community, and all people. All of us can take up this agenda and contribute to its implementation. Many organizations with whom ebbf partners such as AIESEC are already mobilizing around the SDGs.

The United Nations may seem far removed from our local actions in our work places and communities, yet the 2030 Agenda is a call for justice for everyone, leaving no one behind. We need to look at the global goals and aspirations as if they were addressed to each of us, and to our enterprises and local communities, and to ask what we can do to reach them at our own level. You can find here further information, and share your ideas and local activities with the ebbf teams and the Governing Board, writing to sdg@ebbf.org

How can you get involved?

Get started now with one of the options that the ebbf board highlighted listed below and then attend the summary event of the ebbf SDG initiative taking place at the next ebbf annual international event taking place in Geneva from the 4th to the 7th of May 2017

See ebbf beyond diversity – annual conference link here

Interested?

Write to the ebbf SDGs Team coordinated by Arthur Dahl to find out more about getting involved and accessing the events and conversations taking place at the Global Compact: sdg@ebbf.org


Examples of actions you can take

(a) Showcase how ebbf ground work is helping a new world civilisation to emerge, in sync with Agenda 2030

* Offer a lecture and/or prepare a statement on how ebbf efforts are connected in multiple ways and levels, how efforts are in sync with the rest of the world which is through positive development efforts like Agenda 2030 changing the world, and how one can fulfil the two-fold moral purpose of every human being

* Communication campaign around applying spiritual principles and its connection with Agenda 2030

(b) Offer ebbf as platform for people inspired by Agenda 2030 to work towards global goals using spiritual principles of ebbf

* Prepare a package of materials how to run a local event for youth and young professionals about necessity of having deeper, spiritual solutions, and how in practice world changes, and how doing that is helping end goals of Agenda 2030 to fulfil

* Create a separate page for Agenda 2030 and ebbf, to grab people who are willing to promote Agenda 2030 vision but are searching for more profound spiritual solutions, and not just those solutions everyone else is offering (already implemented!)

* Create video interviews of people who have pledged their time and effort and let them explain how they are, in practice, helping bring about change

* Help to build a community of people, who with sense of belongingness share the passion to do something, who go ahead and do things already, and help them to see themselves as both ebbf members and as active promoters of Agenda 2030

* Prepare a slide show to give a talk in a collaborative university and business setting how Agenda 2030 is bringing purpose and direction of travel for students to leave a mark and businesses to create meaningful mission and workplaces where individual purpose syncs with business goals.

For more information, contact the ebbf SDGs Team at: sdg@ebbf.org

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 1: PovertyEnd poverty in all its forms everywhere
Goal 2: FoodEnd hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 3: HealthEnsure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 4: EducationEnsure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal 5: WomenAchieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 6: WaterEnsure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Goal 7: EnergyEnsure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy for al
Goal 8: EconomyPromote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 9: InfrastructureBuild resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Goal 10: InequalityReduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11: HabitationMake cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 12: ConsumptionEnsure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 13: ClimateTake urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Goal 14: Marine-ecosystemsConserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Goal 15: EcosystemsProtect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Goal 16: InstitutionsPromote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17: SustainabilityStrengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Further Orientation on Connecting Spiritual Principles with the 2030 Agenda

Below you can find spiritual guidance helping us define some of the following areas:

. connecting worship and meaningful service

. translating spiritual truths into business language and action

. applying spiritual principles to create specific solutions and to develop a better society

. mirroring spiritual qualities in one’s life

. ebbf assisting in the creation of ‘communities of practice’

. ebbf’s sustained and values-based way as an approach to the 2030 Agenda

. being inclusive and increasing desire in those around us to serve others

. at the heart of ebbf there is action: taking constructive, principled action

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Connecting worship and meaningful service, and starting to see cohesion between being an active ebbf member, learning how to apply spiritual principles in daily life in the field of business, of being of service to others, work as form of service, and participation on global exercises and transformation:

However, the real transformative power of the Faith is likely to be perceived more readily still if people experience how worship and meaningful service are being woven into the fabric of the lives of Bahá’ís everywhere. Indeed, from the community-building activities of the Five Year Plan emerges a pattern of collective life within which anyone can discern the vivifying influence of the divine teachings brought by God’s Manifestations. 

UHJ 18 May 2016

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By definition, ebbf is taking part in the above-mentioned processes, by translating spiritual truths into business language and action. The 2030 Agenda is giving a headline to the activities we already inherently do:

The signs of their progress are more and more apparent: […]

in the now familiar dynamic of study, consultation, action, and reflection that has cultivated an instinctive posture of learning; in the mounting appreciation for what it means to give effect to the Teachings through social action; in the multiplying opportunities being sought and seized to offer a Baha’i perspective on discourses prevalent in society; in the awareness of a global community that, in all its endeavours, it is hastening the emergence of divine civilization by manifesting the society-building power inherent in the Cause; indeed, in the friends’ growing consciousness that their efforts to foster inner transformation, to widen the circle of unity, to collaborate with others in the field of service, to help populations take charge of their own spiritual, social, and economic development—and, through all such efforts, to bring about the betterment of the world—express the very purpose of religion itself. 

UHJ Ridvan 2016

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The 2030 Agenda is a platform to practice how to apply spiritual principles not only to solve problems, but to bring about positive development within society:

On occasion, the efforts of the friends can be greatly reinforced through the work of an established Bahá’í-inspired organization functioning in the vicinity. However humble an instance of social action might be at the beginning, it is an indication of a people cultivating within themselves a critical capacity, one that holds infinite potential and significance for the centuries ahead: learning how to apply the Revelation to the manifold dimensions of social existence. All such initiatives also serve to enrich participation, at an individual and collective level, in prevalent discourses of the wider community. As expected, the friends are being drawn further into the life of society—a development which is inherent in the pattern of action in a cluster from the very start, but which is now much more pronounced.

UHJ 29 December 2015

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Mirroring forth spiritual qualities in one’s life is crucial element in betterment of society – in fact, exploring those spiritual themes is absolutely necessary:

Experience suggests that a discussion about contributing to the betterment of society fails to tap the deepest springs of motivation if it excludes exploration of spiritual themes. The importance of “doing”, of arising to serve and to accompany fellow souls, must be harmonized with the notion of “being”, of increasing one’s understanding of the divine teachings and mirroring forth spiritual qualities in one’s life. And so it is that, having been introduced to the vision of the Faith for humanity and the exalted character of its mission, the youth naturally feel a desire to be of service, a desire to which training institutes swiftly respond. Indeed, releasing the capacity of the youth is, for each training institute, a sacred charge. Yet fostering that capacity as it develops is a responsibility of every institution of the Cause. The readiness youth demonstrate to take initiative, whatever lines of action they choose, can obscure the fact that they need sustained support from institutions and agencies in the cluster beyond the early steps. 

UHJ 29 December 2015

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ebbf can assist in creating a ‘community of practice’:

The link between religious conviction and service to the common good, however, is by no means automatic. It is entirely possible, for example, to have a congregation of noble-thinking and well-intentioned adherents whose actions do little to contribute to the betterment of society. Clearly there is much to learn about how noble ideals become expressed in committed, sustained action. In this sense, religious communities can be understood as communities of practice in which spiritual teachings are translated into social reality. Within them, a process of capacity building that enables people of all backgrounds to participate in the transformation of society — and protects and nurtures them — can be set in motion. How this process unfolds in different contexts and diverse environments promises to be an area of rich exploration in the coming years. 

BIC, Summoning our common will

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By building on spiritual principles, ebbf can offer a more comprehensive, sustained and values-based way to bring about the transformation called for in the 2030 Agenda. As an ebbf member, one is contributing to these processes profoundly:

The challenges addressed in the SDGs will require many technical and technological approaches. But lasting, sustainable progress will also require solutions which are consonant with the spiritual nature of human beings. Addressing the age-old malady of poverty might well require the redistribution of financial assets, the refinement of systems of taxation, and similar measures. But at a deeper level, eradicating poverty will require the construction of a global civilization characterized by generosity, solidarity, compassion, equity and a sustainable relationship of human beings with their environment. Corruption will ultimately be eradicated not solely by penal codes or sophisticated tracking systems, but by the establishment of a society in which honesty and trustworthiness are socially expected moral norms. And great indeed is the responsibility of religious communities to put these positive values — their values — into practice. It is incumbent on every person of insight and understanding, the Bahá’í Writings state, “to strive to translate that which hath been written into reality and action.” The world’s great religious teachers have each sought to promote human well-being and honour and to advance civilization. In this sense, religion, as a dynamic system of knowledge and action, fulfils an essential purpose: expanding the bonds of unity among the people of the world and transforming their inner character and outer life. 

BIC, Summoning our common will

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Our purpose is to include everybody in an immediate, community network to increase each individual’s desire to be of tangible service to others.

Working in the neighbourhood or village setting, its participants strive to create an environment conducive to the empowerment of individuals who will come to see themselves as active agents of their own learning and protagonists of a constant effort to apply knowledge to effect individual and collective transformation. Those involved gradually build capacity to engage in purposeful discussion with people they come in contact with in daily life — neighbours, parents from their children’s schools, shopkeepers, students — about the spiritual and material conditions of their communities. Crucially, service is the organizing principle of this process. The desired outcome is not for participants to simply learn things, but rather to build their capacity and increase their desire to be of tangible service to others. 

BIC, Summoning our common will

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At the heart of ebbf there is action: taking constructive, principled action.

More broadly, the efforts of the Bahá’í community are intended to build capacity in individuals and institutions for selfless service to others and contribution to the common good. They help participants to analyse and understand the constructive and destructive forces operating in society, to recognise the influence these forces exert on their thoughts and actions, and to take constructive, principled action in response.

BIC, Summoning our common will

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