At an international conference entitled "Partners for Change – Religions and the 2030 Agenda", the German Minister Dr Gerd Müller of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development BMZ, presented the first-ever strategy in German development policy on Religious Communities as Partners for Development Cooperation. Minister Müller said, "Without the involvement of the world's religions, we will not be able to meet the challenges the world is facing. Especially in these times when religion is used as an argument to justify terrorism and violence, we need to improve cooperation with all religious communities. We must not leave the field clear for the extremists. Rather, we need to strengthen those who are working for peace and development."
At the conference, held from 17-18 February 2016 in Berlin, the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) was launched in order to give this effort a push at an international level.
It is a joint endeavour of BMZ with other governmental donors and international organisations, from the USA, UK, Sweden, and Switzerland including the United Nations, the World Bank, UN Women and the UN Development Programme. Representatives of major world religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Daoism, Sikhism, Hinduism and of other traditional beliefs participated in the conference. The purpose of this International Partnership (PaRD) is to develop common ideas on how to improve cooperation with faith communities. The Partnership will have religious communities and civil society organisations as associated members.
Globethics.net was represented at the conference by its Executive Director Christoph Stückelberger. Globethics.net as a network of inter-religious and non-religious partners will take part in PaRD as member of the Community of Practice of the ACT Alliance. The Globethics.net President, Ambassador Walter Fust, former Head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, was in early 2000 an international pioneer in promoting cooperation of governments with religious communities. PaRD is supported by an international secretariat with offices in Bonn and Berlin.