Shared well-being

Last month, world leaders at the United Nations approved the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. This decision calls all to help end extreme poverty and promote sustainable development in a peaceful, just and healthy world.

Dr. William Vendley


In response, the Religions for Peace Executive Committee issued an important statement that noted that each religious community can fold these vital goals into its own holistic notion of human flourishing. Moreover, by advancing cooperation across our traditions and with others, Religions for Peace believes that the best fruits of the modern sciences can be combined with the tested wisdom of millennia of religious experience in the service of sustainable development.

We are convinced that advancing shared well-being can powerfully support sustainable development.

As we commit ourselves to implement the SDGs, we recall that our respective religious traditions point, each in its own way, to vision of "shared well-being" based on the profound reciprocity between human dignity and the common good that is anchored in each religion's respective experience of the Sacred. Indeed, this notion of shared well-being was unanimously affirmed by over 700 diverse senior religious leaders, including men, women and youths, --during the Religions for Peace World Assembly in 2013. We are convinced that advancing shared well-being can powerfully support sustainable development.

Let us, then, choose solidarity over narrow self-interest, true values over fleeting and self-centered satisfactions, and "welcome" over "exclusion."

Let us honor deeply, each in his or her own way, the mysterious beauty of human dignity and the priceless wealth of our common good.

Editor's note: Dr. William Vendley is Secretary General of Religions for Peace, which advances common action among the world's religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious bodies and more than 90 national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Interfaith Youth Network.

Letter to the Editor