The event, titled "Faith Without Borders: Partnerships of Governments and Catholic Organizations to Reduce Inequalities for the Post-COVID Era in Spain and Beyond", was jointly organized by the New York-based “Justice Coalition of Religious” and REDES Spain (Red de entidades para el Desarrollo Solidario - Network of entities for solidarity development).
At the beginning of the year, REDES, through Angel Gudiña of "Misiones Salesianas" had contacted Fr Thomas Pallithanam, the representative of the Salesian Missions at the UN, to organize a side event during the HLPF 2021. Rigorous and efficient planning made this event possible. This initiative also opened the door to future collaborations for joint advocacy initiatives.
Sister Alessandra Smerilli, speaking on behalf of the Dicastery of the Holy See for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, reiterated the Pope's message not to limit ourselves to preparing for the future, but to prepare the future itself. In the Commission, divided into 5 workflows, Sister Smerilli oversaw the workflow and illustrated research and studies on the current Covid-19 pandemic and all related issues. There were discussions on the need to think about a post-Covid-19 society and world, especially in the areas of ecology, economics, work, health, politics, communications and security.
Later, Fr André Mytilien presented the Salesians' project entitled: "Creation & adaptation of academic & skills training content for distance training during the pandemic". This program was developed using a training platform designed with the support of the Spanish National Development Agency (AECID) and the Madrid Regional Government.
His presentation showed how the Sustainable Development Goals have all been addressed continuously and effectively through this project. In particular, he referred to objective number 4 (equitable, inclusive quality education), 8 (promote decent work, sustainable economic growth) and 17 (global partnership to achieve objectives).
The event saw large virtual participation, with over 130 spectators. Salesian involvement was strengthened by the presence of various members of the Salesian Family at the event, such as Fr Tim Zak, SUE Provincial, and Renato Cursi, Executive Secretary of “Don Bosco International”.