11th Annual 2017 Spirit of the United Nations Award Ceremony
23 October 2017 – 1 pm to 3 pm
UN Church Center, 777 UN Plaza, NY, NY
“SDG Success – The Spiritual Indicators and
a Universal Push to Transform the World”
In a message delivered on September 24, 2015, at a meeting of Faith-Based Organizations for Sustainable Development, with a focus on “The Moral Imperative to End Extreme Poverty,” former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon affirmed: “There are moments in history when our humanity fills us with hope and courage; when we discover our common spirituality and values, and build a shared vision of where the future must lead. We are at such a moment today – and we must seize it.”
The 2016 UN General Assembly adopted the following theme for its historical meeting which discussed the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals: “A Universal Push to Transform the World”. In an interview with UN Insider, referring to the work at the United Nations, outgoing UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson emphasized that it is important “to realize that there is an element of spirituality needed in what we do”. In his transformative vision, HE Jan Eliasson urged world leaders to stop the trend of dividing humanity into “us” and “them” and identifying oneself in contrast to others rather than together with others.
“Whether it is your religious belonging, or your ethnic group, or your tribe in some countries, that trend means that you are actually undermining the equal worth of all human beings, because you easily consider the “us” superior to the “them”. Thus, he mentioned that the most important word in today’s world is “together”, to combat the polarization and division that blocks advancement.
The NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns-NY (CSVGC-NY) also affirms the message of universality and oneness as key factors and essential components in the implementation and accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals. Spirituality provides the common foundation of human oneness that illuminates the path towards universal, unifying values and ethics, and creates the transition to a sustainable way of life. It has the potential to motivate all beings to work together harmoniously and dynamically for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The spiritual indicators of sustainability include social well-being and ecological integrity, and reflect the values underlying the individual and collective choices and behavior necessary to achieve sustainability, which promote care for people and the ecosystem, “leaving no one behind”. They promote inclusive, peaceful societies with access to justice for all, resolving some of the factors that contribute to conflict and instability which impeded sustainability.
CSVGC-NY urges all to weigh in on the major international processes and to join together in the effort towards the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and specific commitments, based on universality, inclusiveness and shared spiritual values.