This year may be remembered as the moment when humanity drew together as the pandemic and then the Black Lives Matter movement swept across the globe, both demanding profound change and growth. Together with the brewing storm of the climate crisis these have led to a growing realization that we can’t go back to business as usual; we need to seek effective solutions.
As the board of a multifaith society from nine traditions and several cultures, it seems evident that these changes need to be inclusive and unifying. Healing and recovery in Canada and elsewhere can’t be short-sighted or fragmented; it has to take place within a coherent whole. Systemic problems require systemic solutions. For our greatest challenges, those systems are now global.
It’s significant that 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the UN Charter, created to establish peace and security in the world, goals more important now than ever. There are now multiple existential threats facing us, some of which didn’t exist in mid-20thCentury. Courageous changes such as those that impelled us forward then are again needed, reforming and updating international institutions to allow them to achieve their original promise. To that end, we would like to offer these thoughts.
- Interconnection and interdependence, the defining characteristics of our times, have created enormous pressures for effective global governance. The level of organization needed in such fields as health, collective security, environmental stewardship and basic human rights can’t be achieved without redesigning international institutions to be “fit for purpose
- ”The UN Charter, a revolutionary document which begins “We the Peoples…”, must be given the capacity to carry out the will and safeguard the interests of the world’s peoples. Big power politics, partisanship and narrow interests need to give way to a higher loyalty to humanity itself.
Listening to those with knowledge and experience is the first step in moving towards a healthy planet with a just and effective system of global governance. There are already many informed proposals designed to increase the democratic character of our global institutions, offering protection against disproportionate power and bringing the rule of law to the international sphere. Key proposals and other useful tools are on the Resources page of our website: https://victoriamultifaith.com/?page_id=16
It’s time to put our house in order so that the world begins to respond to the values and aspirations of the majority of its inhabitants. Our efforts to heal the planet will succeed to the extent that they’re aligned with the principles that are the common ground of our spiritual traditions, such as justice, the worth and dignity of every person, and respect and compassion for all life. Those core values are based on a recognition of our essential oneness: what affects the least fortunate of us affects us all.
As members of a planetary civilization that must learn to nurture all its children, we have work to do. This includes educating ourselves and joining with others for the impact needed to create enduring, beneficial change. The question, “How can we help?”, is one we all need to ask.
“The enormous difficulties of this undertaking and the challenging times ahead should be acknowledged, but every global citizen needs to be inspired by positive visions of the better future that is possible.” 
With deep respect for all who are working to bring about that future,
The Victoria Multifaith Society
 Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century, Augusto Lopez-Claros, Arthur Dahl, Maja Groff, Cambridge University Press, Jan. 2020.
You can read more articles on our interfaith blog. Spiritually Speaking, HERE
* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, August 1st 2020