Incorporating religion into development cooperation

Project description

Title: Sector Programme Religion and Development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-financed by: Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2019 to 2022



For four out of five people worldwide, religion plays an important role in their lives. Faith and religion give meaning to life, offer orientation and can provide motivation to work for sustainable development and peace. It is not uncommon for considerable confidence to be put in religious leaders as state representatives. They reach people even in remote areas where there are no state structures. The involvement of religious representatives is therefore essential to achieve climate and sustainability goals.

In view of this, German development cooperation relies on dialogue and cooperation with religious organisations and initiatives. After all, long-term change is not possible without extensive cooperation between the government, business sector, civil society and religious communities. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) therefore published a strategy in 2016 to include religious representatives as partners in development cooperation. The focus is on contributions to social cohesion, political and economic participation, environmental and climate protection, and population trends. The project provides support and advice.

Bild2_Walter Keller, Bangladesh


Cooperation with religious representatives is an integral part of German and international development cooperation.


The project highlights the positive role of religious communities and their diverse contributions to sustainable development. It also prepares approaches to cooperation for practical use and advocates getting religious representatives more involved.

In addition, the project works in the Secretariat of the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD). In this role, it coordinates cooperation and supports the global networking of state and religious representatives for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. PaRD is a network of more than 130 faith-based organisations (FBOs), governments and international organisations. As a global partnership, PaRD promotes the exchange of experience and innovative approaches for new cooperation arrangements and initiatives.

For BMZ, the project prepares background papers, makes recommendations for action, organises events and training courses, and advises on specific opportunities for cooperation with religious representatives. Aiming to launch discussions with potential religious partners, the project offers tailored analyses of the environment and stakeholders. The results are incorporated into recommendations for new cooperation arrangements.

In addition, the project supports existing projects in countries such as Indonesia and Mali and works in close cooperation with the African Union (AU). As a result, the international network Interfaith Dialogue on Violent Extremism (iDove) has emerged. This flagship project provides young people from Africa and Europe with a safe opportunity for dialogue, allowing them to discuss the prevention of extremism. The young people not only network in iDove, but also develop projects independently and implement them together. iDove is growing steadily and is expanding its involvement in Asia as well.

Last update: April 2021

Bild3_Walter Keller Männer Cafe Sri Lanka

Additional information