Local action challenges global leaders to address causes of poverty

1000_DAYSGuru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ), a multi-faceted Sikh faith organisation has joined religious leaders from across the G8 countries, to call for their Heads of Government to honor commitments in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The international campaign to call for Government action involves over 60 esteemed religious leaders from across the globe, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and Chairman of GNNSJ and the Nishkam Civic Association, Bhai Sahib (Dr) Mohinder Singh, who have joined forces to highlight that from Friday 5th April 2013, 1000 days remain until the 2015 deadline to achieve the MDGs.

With a focus on tax, trade and transparency, the religious leaders state, the UK Presidency of the G8 has the potential to advance the MDG agenda in ways that strike at the underlying causes of poverty, in particular by ensuring the wealth created by developing countries is not lost through unfair tax practices, a lack of transparency or a failure to secure the benefits of trade for developing countries.

 It is encouraging to report that by committing to the MDGs, Governments, international organisations and civil society groups around the world have helped more girls into education and reduce child mortality in areas of extreme poverty. However, the world needs to continue to fight killer diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. There are 1,000 days to accelerate action on issues such as hunger, access to education, improved sanitation, maternal health and gender equality.

Bhai Sahib (Dr) Mohinder Singh said: “In the current 21st Century, we need a new human consciousness – a new human mind-set fired by values and virtues to actually do good for the benefit of all humankind. We have to be ‘Nishkam’ or selfless to address the challenges of delivering the MDGs. The empowerment of each individual within the chain of 7 billion people that make up humanity is necessary”.

Bhai Sahib at G8 Religious Leaders Summit

Bhai Sahib at G8 Religious Leaders Summit

The financial crisis may be a reason but is not an excuse for hesitation or deferral. In a letter published in the Financial Times, G8 religious leaders stated:

“Reaching a purposeful consensus on these areas won’t be easy. But, if the political will and moral leadership is forthcoming, this year’s G8 could help to create an environment that encourages the conditions for inclusive, equitable and sustainable economic growth – conditions that are desperately needed if we are to realise the MDGs and even greater things beyond.”

The Nishkam Centre will continue to use all means possible including social media to support the MDG initiative and encourage all twitter users to use #1000DaysToGo. The hope is a wider appeal by the public will encourage governments not to waiver and understand the groundswell of support. It is important everyone shows their support by joining in how they can.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               ENDS

Released by: Nishkam Centre
T: 0121 515 4229
Email: amrick.ubhi@ncauk.org

Notes to editors
1. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that were officially established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. All 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve these goals by the year 2015. Additional information about the Millennium Development Goals can be found at http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals
2. Signatories to the letter will be tweeting throughout the day to help raise awareness of the G8 religious leaders’ letter and its central message, namely, that we have a moral responsibility to deliver on the MDGs and that the right decisions taken at the G8 Summit in June 2013 can accelerate that process. You can follow the twitter conversation at #1000DaysToGo
3. The full text of the letter can be read on-line at http://www.ft.com/comment/letters and at http://www.nishkammediacentre.com
4. For further information regarding this letter or to arrange an interview please contact Mr Amrick Singh Ubhi on 0121 515 4229 or email amrick.ubhi@ncauk.org
5. Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) is a multi-faceted, faith based organisation practicing and propagating the Sikh Dharam (faith) in the name of Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469-1539). It has been involved in selfless intra-faith work in Kenya and India informally since 1950, and formally in the UK since 1978 as a registered Charity through five centres for excellence in the inner-city depressed area of Handsworth, Birmingham, where its Headquarters are based. GNNSJ also has sister organisations in Leeds and London (UK); as well as in Kericho (Kenya) and Amritsar (India). Significant achievements have been made by GNNSJ in the conservation and restoration of historical Sikh shrines.
Chaired by Bhai Sahib (Dr) Mohinder Singh it aims to serve and uplift society through the practice of core values – nishkamta, or the spirit of selflessness, being one of them. Inspired by spirituality, GNNSJ has generated a flourishing culture of volunteering, which has contributed immensely to transform visionary projects into reality.
For his services to religious faith propagation, community service, education and research, Bhai Sahib has been awarded two Honorary Doctorates from Birmingham’s Universities. He is passionate about values-based education and is the Patron of the Nishkam Education Trust.
Bhai Sahib (Dr) Mohinder Singh’s roles in other organisations:
• Trustee of Anandpur Sahib Foundation.
• Chairman, since 2002, of the British Sikh Consultative Forum (BSCF) representing some 80 Gurudwaras and Sikh Organisations in the UK, striving for intra-faith and interfaith community cohesion and engagement with the UK Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
• Chairman of Sangat Trust.
• International Trustee of Religions for Peace the largest international coalition of representatives from the world’s religions dedicated to promoting peace in more than 70 countries
• Member of the Elijah Board of World’s Religious Leaders (EBRL). Hosted conference in 2007 in Amritsar, India.
• Member of the European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL). Hosted conference in 2007 at Nishkam Centre.
• Member of Fetzer Institute’s Advisory Council on World Religious and Spiritualties.
• Member of Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Religious Advisory Council.
• Executive Member of Religions for Peace (UK).
• Supporter of United Religions Initiative (UK).
• Trustee and Chair of the Museum of World Religions (MWR (UK)) working group.
• Supporter of the Council for Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR), Chicago, USA.
• Supporter of Globalisation for the Common Good, promoting an ethical, moral and spiritual vision of globalisation. Hosted conference in 2005 in Kericho, Kenya.
• Supporter of the Goldin Institute, working towards building grassroots partnerships for global change. Hosted Conference in 2005 in Amritsar, India.
• Member of Department for International Development (DfID) Faith Working Group.
• Supporter of Jubilee Debt Campaign since its inception.
• Participant in Shared Act of Reflection and Commitment by the faith communities of the UK, 2000 and participant in World Peace Prayer, Assisi, 2002 upon the invitation of His Holiness the late John Paul II.
• Patron of Divine Onkar Mission, UK, a charity reaching out to people in some of the most remote parts of India.
• Trustee of Birmingham Citizens, a social action organisation.
• Patron of Sikh Mental Health and Wellbeing Trust.
• Executive member of West Midlands Faith Forum.
• Member of Birmingham Faith Leaders Group since its inception in 2002.

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