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 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 multilateral and non-governmental organizations, including: Religions for Peace, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Finn Church Aid. KAICIID Dialogue Centre joined the Core Group in August 2015. The Core Group (now Steering Group) was responsible for developing the Network and its mandate. The Network is currently hosted by Finn Church Aid and supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Finland. The Network regularly consults with the Mediation Support Unit in the UN Department of Political Affairs and the UN Alliance of Civilizations.

Since it’s 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.