The United Nations is considered one of the world’s most secular institutions, with 193 member states representing peoples of different faiths and cultures and professing religious and agnostic beliefs.
Still, faith-based organisations (FBOs) continue to play a vital role in a wide range of issues on the UN’s political, social and economic agenda, including human rights, population, food, health, education, children, peacekeeping, disarmament and refugees.
UNFPA, The United Nations Population Fund, is perhaps the only UN agency that has invested – heavily and systematically since 2002 – in setting up a Global Interfaith Network of over 500 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) reaching out to disenfranchised communities worldwide.
These NGOs include World Vision, Islamic Relief, Caritas, the World Council of Churches, the Young Women’s Christian Association and CAFOD, the official Catholic aid agency for England and Wales.
In an interview with IPS, Dr. Azza Karam, senior advisor on culture at UNFPA, said the reality is that FBOs are among the oldest social and economic service providers.
Read the full story by Thalif Deen for Inter Press Service.