The governance of religious and cultural diversity is a complicated task, especially taken in the context of rising nationalism, the spread of extremist views, as well as ethnic, racial and socio-economic inequalities. Such dynamics have posed the question whether the policies and strategies put in place by governments around the world adequately address polarisation and extremism to build plural and united societies. Governance indicators could be tools for monitoring and assessing the impact of such policies and enhancing practices, perceptions and attitudes towards greater diversity and inclusion.
On September 29, 2020 CSD took part in the webinar “Setting the Course for Cultural and Religious Diversity: What Role Can Indicators Play in Supporting Good Governance.” During the event, Dr. Liliya Yakova, Director of CSD’s Sociological Program, and Rositsa Dzhekova, Director of CSD’s Security Programme, introduced the State-Religion Governance Indicators (SRGI), a policy instrument developed by CSD to assess, compare, and monitor trends in countries according to four key vectors: (1) level of autonomy of religious institutions/groups from the state; (2) level of rights of religious minority groups; (3) factors contributing to (violent) religious radicalisation; (4) efforts to address such radicalisation. At the event, CSD also presented comparative results on religious diversity trends and factors driving radicalisation in 24 countries across the globe.
Kundan Mishra from the Global Center for Pluralism in Ottawa talked about the Global Pluralism Index which assesses the social, economic and political aspects of pluralism and discussed the application of the Index to the case of Canada, Germany and Kenya. Discussants at the indicators panel were Andrea Wagner, Head of International Regional Economic Analysis at BAK Economics and advisor to the Council of Europe, as well as Dr. Giacomo Solano, Head of Research at the Migration Policy Group, Brussels.
A roundtable discussion on pluralism in Canada and lessons learned from the use of governance indicators took place in the second half of the webinar. Participants in this discussion were Will Kymlicka, Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen's University, Thomas Huddleston from the Migration Policy Group in Brussels, and Enrico del Castello, Director of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Government of Canada.