The final report of the High Level Panel on Peace Operations refers to religious leaders as potential partners

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations in October 2014 to review the current state of UN peace operations. In it´s report, presented to the Secretary-General in June 16, 2015, the Panel recognizes the importance of inclusive processes with specific reference to religious actors.

Issues of peace processes and the UN`s role therein are woven throughout the report. It also includes a section on prevention and mediation, as well as references to the importance of inclusive processes in a number of areas.

Religious actors are referred to as potential partners in conflict prevention and mediation. The report states that the UN “… must find ways to draw on the knowledge and resources of others beyond the UN System through civil society – community, religious, youth and women groups – and the global business community”.

According to the report, religious leaders can potentially play a role in the negotiation of agreements, in implementation and in issues of social cohesion. Religious and other community leaders possess capacities and experience that can be utilized in mobilizing resources and commitment. Alongside civil society and women, religious leaders are identified as actors that should come to the forefront of reconciliation processes.

The report also briefly reflects on the threat distortion of religion represents to peace and security. Growing number of violent extremist and terrorist groups use distorted but powerful religious symbolism and a absolutism to promote their violent agenda.

The report can be accessed here and a brief summary of the Panel’s observations and recommendations is available here.