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Civil society partnerships

United Nations

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
This initiative of the UN Secretary-General aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions and to help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism. The Alliance is supported by the Group of Friends – a community of over 85 member countries and international organizations and bodies.

Working in partnership with governments, international and regional organizations, civil society groups, foundations and the private sector, the Alliance supports a range of projects and initiatives aimed at building bridges among a diversity of cultures and communities.

United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development
The Inter-Agency Task Force aims to support the work of UN staff towards the shared objective of learned, strategic and sustained engagement with key partners in the faith-based world, to support respective and collective efforts to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Task Force acts as a shared platform for reflection and exchange of experiences as well as a resource hub on partnerships with faith-based development organizations within the UN as well as for external developmental counterparts.

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
Comprised of the UNAIDS Secretariat and its 10 cosponsors, UNAIDS is responsible for developing and advocating for policy and technical guidance on HIV and AIDS-related issues. Within this mandate, it works across a wide range of related cultural, health, social and economic issues including human rights, gender, emergency and humanitarian response, counselling and testing, HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, sexual and reproductive health, science and research.

UNAIDS recognizes the significant role that religious communities are playing in the HIV response, including the provision of HIV-related services, while acknowledging areas in which they could be supported to respond more effectively. This has led to the development of the Partnership with Faith-based Organizations strategic framework, the purpose of which is to encourage stronger partnerships between the UNAIDS family and FBOs in order to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, which includes the integration of FBOs in comprehensive national AIDS responses. See:

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
UNDP is the United Nations' global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP is on the ground in 177 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. UNDP's network links and coordinates global and national efforts to reach these goals. UNDP’s focus is helping countries build and share solutions to the challenges of democratic governance, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and recovery, environment and energy, and HIV and AIDS.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. Within the larger framework of intercultural dialogue, which also encompasses interreligious dialogue, special focus is placed to encourage cultural pluralism and discourage expressions of extremism.  Programme areas through which UNESCO does this include: General and Regional Histories publications; Routes of Dialogue such as the Slave Route Project; and the Intersectoral Platform on Contributing to the Dialogue among Civilizations.
Additionally, UNESCO has a well-established network, ‘UNESCO Chairs of Interreligious Dialogue for Intercultural Understanding.’ The network is a partnership between international academic centres recognized for their expertise in this field and brings together professors, researchers and specialists of the history of religions who are personally committed to the achievement of Interreligious Dialogue. See <www.unesco.org/en/unitwin/access-by-domain/culture/intercultural-interreligious-dialogue/>

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
UNFPA is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. UNFPA works in partnership with governments, as well as with other agencies and civil society broadly, in three core areas: sexual and reproductive health, population and development strategies and gender equality and women’s empowerment. The UNFPA Global Forum on Faith-based Organizations for Population and Development (Istanbul, 20-21 October 2008) brought together over 100 faith-based organizations and religious leaders from all major faiths and regions. They discussed successful practices and ways to move forward in partnerships with UNFPA in its core areas. The Global Forum culminated in the launch of the Global Interfaith Network on Population and Development, which represents the agreement of faith communities around the world on principles of working together, and with UNFPA, to combat global urgencies of maternal death, AIDS and poverty, and address violence against women and issues related to youth and migration. For more information on the Network, as well as related documentation, go to: www.unfpa.org/culture/fbo.html.

Additional United Nations entities working with religious communities include the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and the World Bank.



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