Second Annual Luncheon on
Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the United Nations
May 24, 2012 from 1:00-3:00 at the Church Center, 2nd Floor
The Committee of Religious NGOs organized a lunch at the UN to bring together Member States, UN Agencies and Offices with the Religious NGOs at the UN. The lunch went extremely well. The event was cosponsored by the Mission of the Republic of the Philippines. Dr. Azza Karam, UNFPA and chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Faith-Based Organizations, helped organize the program.
86 people attended: 25 from Missions, 15 from UN agencies and 40 Religious NGOs, with a mix at each luncheon table for fruitful discussions. The Inter-Agency Task Force representatives all addressed how they are working with faith-based organizations throughout the world.
Reports were presented from:
1. UNFPA (family planning/health) with all the health initiatives they are doing with religious organizations and religious leaders. The representative from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Office who is working in NY to better train UNFPA on interreligious dialogue attended, along with a partner from World Wildlife Federation.
2. UNESCO (education, science and culture) and their initiatives on the Culture of Peace. They are holding a high level dialogue on Sept 21 for IDP. They also supported World Interfaith Harmony Week, and a host of other initiatives that connect to religions, including May 21, Cultural Diversity Day.
3. UNICEF (children to 18 years of age) has just completed a report on working with Interfaith Partners and it is online.
4. UN Women is especially partnering with religious communities to address violence against women.
5. UNAIDS is having a conference in DC this summer. First time back in USA in 22 years.
6. UNEP (environment) is working very hard on the Rio+20 Conference in June. They are hosting a workshop on June 5, World Environment Day to address Rio + 20 and Faith based organization, where Monica Willard has been invited to speak on the panel. The theme for Rio + 20 is “The Future We Want.” The theme for International Day of Peace on Sept. 21 is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future.”
7. Alliance of Civilizations is a special office set up by the Secretary-General that has a major emphasis on religion through their programs on youth, media, education, and culture.
All of the agencies and the Alliance shared how they need and want partnerships that allow them to work with recognized religious NGOs and religious leaders on projects at the country level.