Ecumenical Office to the United Nations (EOUN)

World Council of Churches' focal point for advocacy initiatives at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Housed at the Church Center for the United Nations, the EOUN is the World Council of Churches’ focal point for advocacy initiatives at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

Together with ACT Alliance, through the EOUN the WCC plays a key role in convening and facilitating advocacy at different levels and building joint ecumenical strategies on priority issues.

The EOUN is a key instrument, helping to create a platform for the most marginalized among us, particularly those from the Global South, to bear witness to their experiences and truth in order to influence policy and decision making at the UN in New York, among member states, and within other intergovernmental and multilateral institutions.

By engaging in continuous dialogue and programmatic cooperation with such agencies as the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and UN Women, we aim to strengthen and enhance UN discourse and practice on issues of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights. Through these dynamic partnerships, the EOUN serves to echo the call to action of the ecumenical fellowship, promoting peace building, reconciliation, human rights, peaceful resistance to violence, and sustainable development.

EOUN exists to amplify the prophetic voice and values of the ecumenical movement within the various multi-lateral settings of the United Nations (UN), and to articulate that voice in relation to the shared principles of the UN charter and international law. We aim to influence policy and decision making at the UN in New York, among member states, and within other intergovernmental and multilateral institutions.

It is our hope that through ecumenical collaboration and in the ecumenical spirit we can expand the advocacy capacity of our member churches and agencies and link to key advocacy moments when the voices of the ecumenical movement can affect the global discourse on the most critical issues of justice and peace in our world today.

Key aspects of the EOUN’s advocacy strategy are to encourage and expand the capacity of church leaders and community representatives to engage in national-level advocacy as well as to have access to decision makers in the UN. Through cooperative relationships with UN member states, the EUNO ensures open channels of communication. We also work to identify strategic synergies within the ecumenical movement to link actors and facilitate collective advocacy.

The EOUN ensures that the WCC is actively represented and highly influential on its priority activities: 

1. Peace and security
2. Sustainable development and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
3. Religion, violence, and extremism
4. Gender justice
5. Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs

Senior UN staff, representatives from faith groups and members of civil society were present at the 7th Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-based Organizations in International Affairs on January 26, 2021. This year’s event focused on “2021: A defining year for accelerating gender equality, equity and justice,” with a series of presentations and discussions on issues including multi-stakeholder collaboration to accelerate gender equality, equity and justice, the urgency for achieving it, women advancing peace and security, and multilateralism and the intersection of religion and human rights.

in 2021, the Symposium examined these issues in light of the major issue facing the world today, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the broader gender justice landscape including the Commission on the Status of Women, Generation Equality Forum, and others. “Pre-existing social inequalities including gender inequalities have been highlighted and new ones created, which will continue to exacerbate these crises unless resolved,” the organizers stated in the event concept note.  “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold suffering and economic hardship, all the more so as it connected to the raging crises of gender inequality, racism, structural economic injustices and climate change.”

Speakers included: 

Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women
Mr. Ib Petersen, Deputy Executive Director, Management, UN Population Fund
Ms. Alice Nderitu, UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide
Dr. Ibrahim Salama, Chief, Human Rights Treaties Branch, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Mr. Anwar Khan, President, Islamic Relief USA
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klaus, former inaugural Senior Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism
Mr. Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, General Secretary, ACT Alliance

Media package: https://actalliance.org/documents/symposium-2021-media-package/

Sponsors: World Council of Churches, ACT Alliance, General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church, Islamic Relief, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Soka Gakkai International, United Religions Initiative, and UN Women and UNFPA, for the UN Inter-agency Task Force on Religion and Development

WCC co-sponsored event at the UN focuses on ethical financing for development

“Financing for sustainable development represents the expression of an ethic of solidarity and sharing, including with generations that come after us and who will inherit whatever good or evil we have wrought”, said Peter Prove, director of International Affairs at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in a symposium at the United Nations headquarters, in New York, on 29 January.

Religious organizations speak up on refugee crisis at UN event

On 22 January, the World Council of Churches, together with the ACT Alliance, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect, and the UN Inter-Agency Task Force with Faith Based Organizations, co-organized the Fourth Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) in International Affairs with the theme “Perspectives on migration: displacement and marginalization, inclusion and justice”.

WCC co-organized event at UN highlights key role of religions on peace and security

“The promotion of peace is at the core of our sacred teachings and therefore a condition we endeavor to achieve”, said Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, representative of the World Council of Churches (WCC) to the United Nations, during the Third Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs, held at the UN headquarters, in New York, on 23 January.

Mr Ryan Smith
Email: ryan.smith@wcc-coe.org

Ms Donna Bollinger
Email: donna_gail.bollinger@wcc-coe.org

Address:
777, United Nations Plaza
10017 New York, New York, USA