The secretariat has been hosted by FCA since the establishment of the Network in 2013. The mandate of FCA to host the secretariat would have ended at the end of this year and thus an application process was launched at the Network Advisory Group Meeting in April 2017. Eventually there were no other applications, which signified the trust towards FCA’s ability to advance the role of religious and traditional peacemakers as well as the role of women and youth in peacebuilding and to develop the work of the Network by supporting its Secretariat.
The Executive Director of the Network, Mr. Antti Pentikäinen, saw the unanimous decision as a sign of trust.
“We have managed to create a good spirit between different actors and to create new ways of peacebuilding with religious and traditional peacemakers”, Pentikäinen concludes.
FCA has a long history of working in the most fragile states, such as South Sudan, Central African Republic and Somalia. FCA has specialized in connecting grass-root peace practitioners with regional and national actors and peace processes and to support mutual reconciliation.
“Several peace practitioners now acknowledge that we have passed the time of elitist diplomacy and they want to learn how to negotiate with groups, which are usually excluded from the negotiating table. In addition, our studies on al-Shabaab and Boko Haram have provided unique first-hand data and are highly valued and our mediation efforts in Libya, CAR and many other countries have shown impact”, Pentikäinen says.
The Network is committed to develop its strategy further in close consultation with the Core and Advisory Group to meet the current and future challenges of peacemaking. The strategic review process within UN mediation and the interest by the UN Secretary General to involve tradition- and faith-orientated actors in peacebuilding demonstrate that there is a need for a Network, which brings together actors working with inter-faith dialogue and inclusive peacebuilding.
Consequently, close collaboration with the current and new members and partners continue to be at the center of the Network.
“As a next step we aim to create new structures for peacebuilding, which will support the goal of the new UN Secretary General. Our cooperation with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has proven to be effective and we will continue to work close collaboration with them”, Pentikäinen stresses.
Tomi Järvinen, Director of International Cooperation, Finn Church Aid
+358 40 641 8209
Antti Pentikäinen, Executive Director, The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers
+358 40 531 3514