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Assembly calls UN to "serious process of reform"

23 February 2006

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The 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14-23 February, has called on member churches "to renew and strengthen their active support for and engagement with" the United Nations while calling for "a serious process of reform" in that organization. The ultimate goal, according to the statement, is for "a more effective United Nations dedicated to the pursuit of global peace with justice".

The statement adopted by delegates says that the UN "finds itself at a critical juncture" in an increasingly complex and globalized world. Despite weaknesses and limitations, however, the UN remains "the best instrument that we have to respond to the contemporary challenges". It reaffirms the dedication of the WCC and its member churches "to the principles and purposes of the UN" and the WCC's dedication to be "present and visible at the UN".

The Assembly welcomed the 2005 UN World Summit outcome document's recognition that the three "pillars" of security, development and human rights are inseparably linked. The newly created Human Rights Council, the Assembly statement says, should be "given a prominent role in the UN structure" so that "practical positive difference" can occur. It also calls attention to the UN's role in financing for sustainable development and other issues of global economics, as addressed in the Millennium Development Goals.

The statement gives significant attention to the composition of the UN Security Council, where it says changes to permanent membership would "make it more geographically, politically, and culturally representative of today's world". It proposes that all UN Security Council members should fully comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission is welcomed as a new means of responding to civil conflict.

Member churches are encouraged to urge member states to "cooperate actively" with the UN and honour their financial commitments to the organization. The statement additionally calls on all states "to ensure the ongoing participation of civil society organizations and faith communities" in the UN's work.

The full text of the "Statement on Reforming the United Nations" is available at

www.wcc-assembly.info/en/theme-issues/assembly-documents/plenary-presentations/committee-reports/public-issues-committee/final-report.html

Assembly website:www.wcc-assembly.info

Contact in Porto Alegre:+55 / 51 8419.216