The Deputy-Secretary-General - Message at 2020 G20 Interfaith Forum

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The Deputy-Secretary-General
Video Message at 2020 G20 Interfaith Forum

Riyadh, 13 October 2020


Ladies and Gentlemen,

As salam alaikum. Peace be upon you.

I am pleased to take part in this G20 Interfaith Forum which brings together such an impressive array of religious and faith-based leaders.

I thank the organizers: the G20 Interfaith Forum Association, the National Committee for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the International Dialogue Center, and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.


I recognize all of your important efforts through the years to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — and welcome your focus on social cohesion, equity and sustainability.

This is particularly timely.

The COVID-19 pandemic is testing us all.

Our social fabric is being stretched as the threads begin to fray in every corner of the globe.


Inequalities are growing. Divisions are widening. Livelihoods are being lost in the millions. Climate change is not on pause.


And we see ever-rising assaults on cultural diversity, religious pluralism and human rights around the world; and the resurgence of anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, hate speech, racism, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development charts a way for a response and recovery that can overcome these challenges.


It is a blueprint for people and planet. It provides a framing for a health response and tackles the socio-economic impact.


But realizing the 2030 Agenda and ensuring a global response to Covid19 takes commitment and courage.


It takes understanding that in order to solve big challenges, we need to come together. There is strength in diversity and we need solidarity now.


All of you represent that understanding — and the values that are so deeply rooted in all faiths


Values such as inclusion. Social justice. Leaving no one behind.


From my own faith of Islam, I draw strength from a Hadith by the Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) that speaks to our times.


The Hadith includes a reflection of seeing believers “showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness and fever with it.”


The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated our inter-connections and also our fragilities.


Our world is like one body. As long as one part is affected by this virus, we all are affected.


Thank you for coming together to heal.


And I also thank religious leaders for supporting the appeal of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres for a global ceasefire.


Today’s event provides an excellent platform to advance all those efforts to repair and rebuild our world.


I encourage you to utilize this Forum to leverage your strength in diversity.


You have joined together from many faiths to reaffirm our shared faith in humanity.


In shaping hearts and minds, you are also shaping the better world we need.


A world that is more inclusive, resilient and sustainable for all.

I wish you all the very best.

The United Nations stands with you,

Thank you.