RIYADH: Asian religious leaders, policymakers, and experts on Wednesday met to map out key regional issues for discussion at the G20 Interfaith Forum due to take place in Riyadh in October.
The virtual regional consultative session, run from Vienna, was organized by the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the G20 Interfaith Forum Association and Saudi Arabia’s National Committee for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue.
Delegates discussed ways to address a number of priority issues in the region including how leaderships and religious institutions could support policymakers in strengthening the regional response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and contribute to developing policy recommendations to back religious and humanitarian organizations in Asia.
Participants reviewed a list of topics surrounding religious values for this year’s G20 — in accordance with the priorities of host country Saudi Arabia — which included matters relating to women and youth, climate change and preservation of the planet’s natural resources, and the adoption of long-term strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological progress.
Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, KAICIID secretary-general, said that Asian countries had always been the center’s focus of attention, most notably Myanmar, and that it was gradually expanding its activities to include other countries in the region.
“Since 2016, the center has supported the efforts of leaderships and religious organizations in consolidating coexistence and peace,” he added.
He noted KAICIID’s support for the Peaceful Myanmar Initiative (PMI), a network of diverse religious groups and policymakers.
Muaammar said the center aimed to expand its work in Asia and regionalize its activities while building partnerships with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and other international development bodies that contributed to enhancing sustainable peaceful coexistence in the region.
KAICIID had enhanced its presence among youth in Asia through cooperation initiatives and support for a dialogue program for peace it had established in partnership with the World Organization of the Scout Movement, added Muammar.
In relation to the COVID-19 outbreak, he noted that the center sought to support local organizations through various projects including one which involved the transformation of a training center for interreligious dialogue into a quarantine facility.