Arigatou International officials, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, Secretary General, Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) and Director, Arigatou International – Nairobi, together with Ms. Rebeca Rios Kohn, Director, Arigatou International – New York and Prayer and Action for Children, have been nominated to serve on the Faith-based Advisory Council to UN Inter-Agency Taskforce on Religion. They were nominated by members of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force.
The current Co-chairs to the task force are Ms. Tarja Kantola, Chair, Finn Church Aid’s Board of Directors and H.E. Faisal Bin Muaammar, Secretary General, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).
“This is the first time in the history of the UN system, that a diverse group of UN system entities, nominate their faith-based development, humanitarian and policy advocacy partners, and then convene them in an Advisory Capacity, to the whole of the UN system.” – Dr. Azza Karam, Convenor, Faith Advisory Council to UN Inter-Agency Taskforce on Religion.
The nomination of Ms. Kohn and Dr. Ali comes at a time when Arigatou International has increased its efforts in addressing violence against children, and mobilizing partners around the world to focus on this scourge.
The United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development (IATF- Religion) was formed in the year 2010 to provide guidance to UN’s engagement with faith-based actors in peace building, development and human rights issues. In April 2018, the Task Force together with over fifty (50) faith-based partners, agreed to establish an Advisory Council.
Some of the responsibilities of the Advisory Council are: to create awareness on religious representation and dynamics in peacebuilding across the world; provide strategic advice to the Task Force in order to strengthen human rights-based policy advocacy; and to support engagement between the UN and faith-based entities, among others.
The first meeting of the council took place on 21st September 2018 with both Arigatou International officials in attendance. Dr. Ali made a presentation during the meeting. Arigatou International will continue to support the Council especially in linking religious communities’ work for children with that of international agencies, governments, and other actors, which operate from a faith perspective.
As an honor to Mr. Kofi Annan’s legacy of engaging with faith institutions to promote peace initiatives, the task force intends to launch an annual ‘Kofi Annan Faith Briefing’, which will promote the importance of strategic partnerships by the United Nations with faith actors across the globe.