DSA Conference Panel: The Role of Religion in Defining and Realising the SDGs

  • Date:
  • Time: 11:00–13:00
  • Location: University of Oxford, Magdalen College, Oscar Wilde Room
  • Categories:

This is the first panel of the DSA study group, convened at the 2016 Development Studies Association (DSA) conference.


  • Shabaana Kidy (Islamic Relief Academy)
  • Emma Tomalin (University Of Leeds)


This panel will seek to explore the role of religion in the conceptualisation and realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs set out a framework for development following the expiry of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. The framework outlines a set of 17 goals with 169 associated targets, intended to eradicate global poverty and achieve environmental sustainability through sustainable development efforts in areas of education, healthcare, gender, water and sanitation, climate change, innovation, inclusive growth, clean energy and protection of the planet. Agreement on the goals was reached following an extensive and inclusive process – one of the largest consultations ever conducted by the UN – that sought to engage and consult with a diverse range of civil society organisations, leaders and local communities. It is through this agenda that UN Member states are expected to frame their development plans and national policies over the next 15 years.

The outlined targets are ambitious, and will continue to require support and backing from a variety of actors, including religious leaders and communities. This panel will therefore be interested in identifying whether and how religion informs actors’ perspectives and practices, and in examining whether acting from within religious structures might be different from other forms of collective action undertaken outside a religious frame. This is particularly significant where discussions on social hierarchies and informal political and governance structures might suggest that religion plays an important motivating influence in local communities in developing countries.


(for paper abstracts, see the DSA conference website)

  • Serve God, Save Earth: A Muslim Spiritual Perspective to Sustainability
    Author: Benaouda Bensaid (Effat University)
  • Challenges and Opportunities facing Muslim FBOs in implementing the SDGs
    Author: Fadlullah Wilmot (Muslim Aid)
  • Engaging development with religious traditions: Methods, pitfalls and stories in the case of SDGs 12-13 and the Catholic Church
    Authors: Severine Deneulin (University of Bath), Augusto Zampini Davies (CAFOD)