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Faith groups commemorate United Nations 75th anniversary, look to the future

Faith groups commemorate United Nations 75th anniversary, look to the future

UN headquarters in New York City. Photo: Marcelo Schneider/WCC

09 September 2020

An online event on 8 September brought together a wide range of faith expressions, delivering messages of hope and solidarity to the United Nations, underlining the urgency of upholding a robust multilateral system for the coordination of responses to the mounting global crises.

Promoted by the United Nations Multi-Faith Advisory Council to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the world’s largest intergovernmental organization, the event featured speakers who provided elements to help discern the best way to promote peace, considering important aspects such as gender-based violence, women and youth engagement in peace building and interfaith cooperation for peace.

The event also touched upon the history of the UN, and its role in promoting peace across both national borders and religious traditions.

A short video featured an extract from a speech by H.A.H. Patriarch Bartholomew, who reflected: “We must never forget: war in the name of religion is war against religion."

Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, interim general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), in a video message shared during the event, stated: “We are deeply dismayed by the growing political opposition to the institutions of multilateralism, precisely at the point in human history when they are most needed.

“COVID-19 has not only revealed our vulnerability to pandemics, but also the underlying challenges posed by accelerating economic inequalities, food insecurity, systemic racism, and forced migration,” added the WCC leader.

Faith-based organizations, religious institutions and religious communities are at the forefront of grassroots contributions in the fields of shelter, education, healthcare, water and sanitation, food and other basic needs.

“In a context where more than 80% of the world’s population belong to some faith community, it is crucial that we support the vision of a peaceful and just world that comes together to safeguarding the environment, change mindsets and become role models to influence others to deal with the injustices we face as humanity,” said Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, general secretary of ACT Alliance and one of the co-chairs of the UN’s Multi-Faith Advisory Council.

In 2010, the United Nations created the Interagency Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development, which today includes more than 20 UN agencies.  Its purpose is to provide policy guidance around engagement with faith-based actors, deepen the UN system staff’s understanding of the intersections of religion and the UN pillars of development, human rights and peace and security, as well as provide strategic policy guidance.

Created in 2018 by the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development, the Multi-faith Advisory Council, an informal and voluntary entity, consists of 45 religious leaders and heads of faith-based organizations including the World Council of Churches.


Watch the recording of the online event “Faith in the UN”

WCC video greetings on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations

Ecumenical United Nations Office

WCC publication “Voices of Faith at the United Nations”