History and Justification
The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers was initiated in 2013 as a response to the growing awareness among peace mediation organization and the United Nations, that religious and traditional authorities are vital, but underutilized, actors in peacemaking processes.
The history of the Network can be traced back to the year 2010 and the establishment of The Group of Friends of Mediation initiated by the foreign ministers of Finland and Turkey. The Group succeeded in strengthening the normative base of mediation in the United Nation and had a key role in advancing the landmark UN Resolution on Mediation in 2011 (UN GA A/RES/65/283, 2011).
The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers was initiated in 2013 as a direct result of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s report titled “Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution” (UN GA Report A/66/811, 2012) and the supporting guidance titled “UN Guidance for Effective Mediation” (UN GA Resolution 65/283, 2012).
The report stated that “Religious leaders and faith-based organizations play an important mediating role in many conflict situations. These leaders have unique connections to local communities and frequently enjoy the trust of the conflicting parties”, and yet “are often not fully acknowledged, and their potential contribution remains underutilized.”
As a response to this call, the Network was launched in the stewardship of a Core Group of non-governmental organizations including Religions for Peace, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Finn Church Aid. The role of the Core Group was to give directions and to ensure inclusivity in the setting-up phase of the Network.
KAICIID Dialogue Centre joined the Core Group in August 2015. As the main financial supporter, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is invited to attend Core Group meetings. The Network also regularly consults with the Mediation Support Unit in the UN Department of Political Affairs and the UN Alliance of Civilizations.
Since its founding the Network has grown into a global structure built of religious and traditional peacemakers, international and national NGOs, think tanks, policy centers and academic institutes.