Proceedings of the 2nd Southeast Asian Academic Forum on Sustainable Development (SEA-AFSID 2018)

The growing global population is diminishing resource stocks and accumulating waste faster than it can be absorbed or recycled. Over the past 15 years, 130,000 kmof forest has been destroyed annually and 15 percent of ocean stocks have been destroyed.Additionally, the global extraction of naturalresources has increased by nearly 45 percent in the last 25 years.Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are accumulating in the atmospherecausing climatic change and impacting the health of the ecosystem.Simultaneously, the growth in global resource consumption and waste emissions has meant that thepopulation is consuming resources at a faster pace than the earth can regenerate.If this trend, or the ‘business as usual’ scenario, continues, the planet’s ability to sustain life will be severely compromised.

The global environmental and scientific communities have long-advocated for major changes in policy and human behaviour to stop and reverse the population’s impact on the planet and biodiversity. They have called for a better understanding of the origins of anthropogenic (human-induced) impacts and a transition to a more sustainable system of consumption while maintaining or increasing societal wellbeing.

The solution that has been presented to combat these environmental challenges is ‘sustainable development’. Sustainable development is an interdisciplinary concept that considers the environmental, social and economic dimensions of a system, facilitating a holistic approach to contemporary challenges. There are, however, important limitations inherent in the model. Chief among these is that economics has come to dominate approaches to sustainable development, arguably brought on by the broad influence of Western-centric modern capitalism.

For Southeast Asian countries in particular, there is an urgent need to search for and define a new model specific to the challenges and norms of the region. Since Islam is one of the majority religions in the region, it can be argued that the forces likely to mobilise the citizens of the region and leverage the required political commitment might be found in the Islamic tradition. More specifically, Maqasid al-Shari’a (the objectives of Islamic law) provides important sources and a platform for a new regional definition of sustainable development.

It is thus timely to focus upon the oft-neglected Islamic perspectives and its wisdom on sustainable development, as well as its concomitant emphasis on social justice, man’s spirituality and his role as khalifatullah fi al-ard with the responsibility to restore the eco-balance and ensure the well-being of the living earth and its creatures. Human welfare objectives from Islam’s perspective should also be pursued in line with its fundamental doctrines of tawhid and respect of human dignity (karamah). The theory of maqasid al-shari‘ah (higher objectives of Islamic Law) is very relevant in addressing the current and future challenges of Muslim communities across the globe. The eminent scholar, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali first expressed the view that the essential (dharuriyyat) interests of the maqasid al-shari‘ah are five, namely: the protection of faith, life, lineage, intellect and property, to which al-Qarafi added a sixth, namely human diginity.

In this sprit, the Faculty of Islamic Studies, Islamic University of Indonesia, organized and hosted the 2nd Southeast Asian Conference on Islam and Sustainable Development. The Conference offer opportunities for scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds to deliberate upon this highly and timely important issue, not only to help focus attention of Muslim scholars on the critical issues of sustainable development but also to offer important Islamic perspectives and approaches for the benefit of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

The goals of this conference are:
1. To develop and formulate alternative ideas of sustainable development specific to the conditions, norms and concerns of the Southeast Asian region/the Muslim world;
2. To discuss the framework of sustainable development in the light of Islam (maqasid al-sharia);
3. To look at how key principles and values from an Islamic perspective can be implemented to guide and underpin sustainable development;
4. To promote a better understanding and application of maqasid al-shari‘a in addressing and resolving the imbalances within the earth and human society that are threatening its future sustainability and well-being of future generations.
5. To develop recommendations and policy statements on sustainable development for the guidance at various levels of governments, institutions and individuals, particularly how to develop Islamically-aware communities keen to contribute towards global sustainable development.

The main theme of this conference is “Fostering Justice and Peace for Sustainable Development in A Multicultural World”. The theme includes, but is not limited to, the following more specific fields of interests/issues:
1. New paradigm of sustainable development in the light of maqasid al-shariah;
2. From al-Shatibi to Ibn Ashur: development of maqasid al-hhari‘ah theory
3. Maqasid al-Shari‘ah and legal maxims related to environmental protection
4. Wasatiyyah as one of the maqasid for achieving sustainable development
5. Maqasid and its role in sustainable socio-economic development; the dzaruriyyat as essentials for dignified living
6. Justice and human welfare from Tawhidic perspectives and realities of widening inequality
7. Qur’anic principle of karamah and the implications for human well-being;
8. The importance of utilising waqaf and zakah funds in facilitating sustainable development
9. Perspectives of religions other than Islam on sustainable development
10. Other issues related to sustainable development.

The conference has been jointly organized by the Postgraduate Program of Islamic Studies, Department of Islamic Family Law, Department of Islamic Education, Department of Islamic Economics of Islamic University, Sulthan Thaha Saifuddin State Islamic University of Jambi, Sultan Agung Islamic University of Semarang, the Christian University of Artha Wacana, Southeast Asia Academic Mobility, the University of Malaya, and the National University of Malaysia. We thank all participants for richly stimulating presentations and discussions in the two days conference.