Workshop participants

GIZ promotes national and international links between experts and cooperation partners in the area of religion and development. The aim is to establish a like-minded group as a network and platform for dialogue. By improving cooperation, it should be possible to implement new measures in partner countries.

The programme also organises specialist international conferences together with the United Nations, the World Bank and other donors. In Germany, it has linked up with partners such as Islamic Relief, Brot für die Welt and Misereor with the aim of maintaining an ongoing dialogue.


Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI)

The international platform known as the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI) is closely involved with the activities of religious groups and their contribution to the wider community. It was set up in 2012 by a variety of international development cooperation organisations, the United Nations, academic bodies and religious institutions. The initiative is based on the conviction that we urgently need to develop a common understanding of the potential of local religious groups to help bring about improvements in public health and living conditions.

The goal of the JLI is to establish a multi-religious, cross-sectoral and inter-ministerial learning platform. The platform would be used to facilitate effective communication between the various stakeholders and to gradually improve the quality of partnerships between religious communities and development cooperation agencies.

The programme ‘Values, Religion and Development’ being implemented by GIZ on behalf of BMZ maintains an ongoing dialogue with the Joint Learning Initiative. It provided organisational support to the JLI for the conference entitled ‘Religion & Sustainable Development: Building Partnerships To End Extreme Poverty’ (7-11 July 2015, Washington DC).


Donor-UN-FBO (DUF)

In 2014 the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) held a conference for donor organisations, UN development agencies and religious organisations under the heading ‘Religion and Development Post-2015’. The list of conference themes included the instrumentalisation of religious organisations, the importance of conducting more empirical research into the work of religious actors and the need for a more detailed analysis of the role played by religion in conflict. The conference participants subsequently established a network to facilitate further dialogue and act as a platform for providing mutual advice.

A follow-up conference was held in New York from 9-11 August 2015 under the title ‘Religion, Development and International Relations [Post 2015] – Donor-UN-FBO Consultation II’. The focus here was on good governance and democratisation, gender equality and peace and security.

Ulrich Nitschke (Head of the Values, Religion and Development programme at GIZ) discussed the contribution of religious organisations with other participants during the talks on governance, while programme advisor Khushwant Singh led the conference discussion on peace and security.

Donor conference in the Taunus, Frankfurt

From 31 August to 2 September 2015 a meeting of donors on the subject ‘Religion and Development’ is going to be organized in the Taunus (a range of hills north of Frankfurt in Germany). The aim is for a small group of donors to share their experiences to date and thus create a climate of trust in which to establish an international group of like-minded stakeholders. The strengths and weaknesses of previous donor programmes and approaches will be reviewed in a series of workshops with a view to generating sustainable proposals for improving cooperation among members of the donor community.


National Team of Experts

In Germany, the debate on religion and development will be driven by a national team of experts under the management of BMZ. The team is made up of religion-based NGOs and representatives from the academic world, civil society, political foundations, the German Institute for Human Rights, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA).

The team of experts will discuss the potential benefits and risks of religion to sustainable global development. Team members will discuss examples of positive cooperation and analyse what constitutes an effective partnership, what religious organisations can offer that others cannot, how official development agencies can work with religious communities, and where to set a limit on such cooperation.