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17 DECEMBER 2007



NEW YORK—Three years after it was launched, the Philippine interfaith initiative in the United Nations continues to gain ground with more member-states throwing their full support to the General Assembly resolution calling for the promotion of inter-religious and intercultural dialogue.

The Philippine Mission to the United Nations reported that 58 countries co-sponsored the Philippine-initiated resolution “Promotion of Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, Understanding and Cooperation for Peace that was adopted by consensus today by the 62 nd General Assembly.

“This is the fourth resolution adopted without a vote by the General Assembly since the Philippines first introduced the interfaith resolution in 2004,” Ambassador Hilario G. Davide Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said in his report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo.

Ambassador Davide noted that the number of co-sponsors to the resolution that the Philippines has been pushing along with Pakistan is a big jump from the 23 member-states that co-sponsored the interfaith resolution when it was first presented in 2004.

“The increase in the number of co-sponsors shows the growing interest by the international community on interfaith dialogue as an instrument to promote peace, development and human dignity,” Ambassador Davide said.

The member-states that co-sponsored the resolution are: Angola, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Liberia, Madagascar, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Suriname, Tajikistan, Thailand and Uzbekistan.

Among the salient features of the resolution, are:

  • The declaration of the year 2010 as the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures;
  • The designation of the Office for ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) Support and Coordination under the Department of Economic and Social Affairs as the focal unit in the UN Secretariat on Interreligious and Intercultural Matters; and
  • The emphasis given to the need to sustain the momentum generated by the 4-5 October 2007 High-Level Dialogue on Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace.

According to Ambassador Davide, the Philippine interfaith dialogue initiative complements two other related initiatives being pursued by Manila at the international level, namely, the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace and the Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace.

Ambassador Davide explained that the first initiative involves governments, the UN system and religious NGOs at the UN, while the second is a purely intergovernmental mechanism to promote interfaith dialogue

Ambassador Davide said the Philippine interfaith initiative stands out among several other similar initiatives in the UN, such as the Alliance of Civilizations, because it is the only one that calls for the involvement of the most influential sector of society—the religious and faith leaders.

“Religious and faith leaders extend immense contribution to addressing such secular concerns as the promotion of peace and security, the eradication of poverty and the achievement of the millennium development goals, as well as the promotion and protection of human rights,” the Philippine envoy pointed out.

Ambassador Davide said that for almost 60 years, the UN had avoided the consideration of the role of religions in the attainment of the goals of the UN, until the General Assembly adopted in 2004 the resolution introduced by the Philippines on interfaith dialogue as another option in realizing a durable peace. ###



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