Ms. Tarja Kantola, Chair of Finn Church Aid’s Board of Directors, has been appointed to co-chair the Faith-Based Advisory Council for the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development. The other co-chair for the Council is H.E. Faisal Bin Muaammar, Secretary General of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).
“As co-chair of the Advisory Council, I look forward to the opportunity to advance human rights and build upon the experience of faith-based organisations with the UN”, says Ms. Kantola.
The UN Interagency Task Force was formed in 2010 as a mechanism to generate more learned and systematic knowledge about faith-based engagement around the development, peace building and human rights’ agendas of the United Nations. In April 2018, the UN Task Force and over 50 of the faith-based NGO partners agreed to develop an Advisory Council.
The responsibility of the Advisory Council will be to provide strategic advice to the UN Inter-Agency Task Force in order to strengthen human rights-based policy advocacy, coordinate engagement with faith-based entities, and to focus on the representation of religion in peacemaking.
In celebration of Mr. Annan’s legacy of engaging with faith-based actors, the Task Force will launch an Annual Kofi Annan Faith Briefings’, which will uphold the importance of strategic partnerships by the UN system with faith-based civil society actors around the world.
“Finn Church Aid and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers applaud the efforts of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development. It is a significant development to see this effort being institutionalised through the first-ever Advisory Council of faith-based organisations. It is a tremendous recognition to Finn Church Aid’s thematic work to have its chair, Ms. Tarja Kantola, as the co-chair the Advisory Council”, states Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi, Executive Director of the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers and Advisory Council member.
Ms. Tarja Kantola has an extensive career in international relations and promoting human rights. She is Member of the Church Council of the The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and Chair of Board of WISE Wider Security Network. Prior to serving as Chair of Finn Church Aid’s Board of Directors, she worked for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland as political Advisor in Foreign Ministers Cabinet with four Foreign Ministers and chaired the Advisory Board on International Human Rights Affairs set by the Finnish Government. Kantola has also worked with several civil society organisations, including the International Solidarity Foundation, the Finnish Refugee Council and Save the Children Finland. She has been Member of the City Council of Helsinki and Member of the City Board.
For more information
Ms. Tarja Kantola, Chair of Board, Finn Church Aid
tel.+358 050 555 0833, kantolantarja(a)gmail.com (Time zone GMT +3, Eastern European Summer Time)
Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi, Executive Director, The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers
tel. +1 317 506 2835 (Time zone GMT-4, Eastern Daylight Time)