WCC UNITED NATIONS ADVOCACY WEEK
New York City,
14-19 November 2004
The Southeast Europe region has been marked by a series of conflicts and humanitarian crises during the past ten years which have resulted in widespread displacement and human suffering. The Balkans remains an area of critical strategic interest to Western governments and a potential flashpoint for further conflicts. The region's problems are complex, deeply rooted, and unlikely to be resolved without sustained attention and involvement on the part of the international community.
The World Council of Churches (WCC), together with the Conference of European Churches (CEC), has been at the forefront of international church efforts to find peaceful solutions to the conflicts and challenges in the region, and to foster hope and justice, rooted in local communities and capacities.
WCC UN Advocacy Week Session
9:30-10:30 am Tuesday, 15 November, 2004
The working session seeks to highlight Southeast Europe as a region, and to examine trends in the political development of the regionthat might guide the WCC in deciding what directions to take in its advocacy work for the region.
Southeast Europe has been identified as one of the focus regions within Central and Eastern Europe by the WCC (see: "WCC in Central & Eastern Europe: regional strategy 2003-2006"). One answer over recent years has been the Southeast Ecumenical Partnership project, that came to its end in June 2004 but continues as a network among church-related NGO’s. Some concrete examples of the co-operation have been the www.balkanchurches.net webpages, and a capacity-building network operated by the Macedonian Centre for International Cooperation (MCIC).
In this working session, we are stopping to look beyond programme work to assess some of the political and social challenges in the coming years in the region. The legacy of the 1990’s wars in the region with hundreds of thousands of refugees and IDP’s, the unclear future status of Kosovo, the need for most of the countries to find a balance with their ethnic and religious minorities, the coming enlargement of the European Union to encompass Bulgaria and Romania in addition to Slovenia and Greece, turmoil about the possible candidacy of Turkey and the long way forward for many countries in region where ethnic and religious identity are closely interlinked, call for an analysis of the present situation, of the role religion and churches play, and of scenarios for the future.
Simultanously, we will be lifting up concrete unresolved issues in one of the areas where the UN has been most heavily involved and where it needs to play a role in the future. MCIC director Saso Klekovski will give a general overview of the experience of civil society and as part of the church-related network, followed by Effie Fokas from Greece who will comment the situation and the future challenges from the perspective of religious and national identity.
- SEEP programme
- Kosovo pages
- International Crisis Group (ICG)
- Balkan Civil Society Development Network: The Role of Civil Society in EU Integration and Democratization Process in the Balkans