World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Resolution on United Nations Relations

14 May 2001

Adopted by the CCIA at its meeting in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, 14-18 May 2001.

Recalling and reaffirming the "Memorandum and Recommendations on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations," adopted by the Central Committee in September 1995, that states the policy of the WCC on UN relations;

Recalling the mandate of the CCIA and the team on International Relations

  • to maintain and provide for the maintenance of contacts with international bodies and the coordination thereof before these international bodies, as may be specifically arranged;
  • to represent, facilitate and help coordinate the representation of member churches, related international Christian organizations and non-member churches before such bodies;
  • to seek and maintain on behalf of the World Council of Churches consultative status with the United Nations, its Specialized Agencies and other inter-governmental organizations;
  • to be responsible for facilitating and arranging such direct contact with organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations as may be requested by other teams of the World Council or churches and related ecumenical organizations.

Noting with appreciation the innovative work done in recent years by the UN Headquarters Liaison Office in New York that has enhanced the visibility and effectiveness of the WCC, the member churches and other partners in bringing ecumenical perspectives to bear on key policy debates;

Noting with appreciation the work of the International Relations staff with the UN in Geneva, especially in relation to the UNHCR and the Commission on Human Rights, and in coordinating, facilitating and assisting other teams' direct relations with various UN bodies and agencies in the areas of their mandates;

Notes that both opportunities for and expectations of the WCC in the field of UN relations have risen considerably in recent years, but that the capacity of the WCC to respond has not kept pace;

Conveys to the Central Committee through the Programme Committee its conviction that his capacity must be strengthened as a matter of urgency;

Requests the staff of International Relations to develop immediately a proposal for designated funding for a minimum period of three years to allow for the addition of an experienced programme staff person and a technical staff person to the staff of the UN Liaison Office in New York;

Encourages funding partners to provide sufficient resources in time to engage the programme staff person by 1 January 2002 in order to assure continuity and a smooth transition in that office in view of the retirement of the current staff person in late 2002; and

Expresses the hope that the strengthening of the staff in the UN Headquarters Liaison Office in New York be done in a way that tightens the programmatic link of this office with Geneva headquarters and assures general oversight of UN relations, including maintenance of consultative status, and cooperation with NGO partners in promoting effective NGO relations with the UN and its related agencies.