diakonia & solidarity

asia desk

diakonia & solidarity

work in the regions



dignity of children

uprooted people

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christian conference of asia / asia regional group / dialogue & consultation / round tables & other partnership programmes / mekong programme / ecumenical enablers' team in asia / children


The WCC Asia Desk works closely with the regional ecumenical organisation, the Christian Conference of Asia. There are annual CCA-WCC joint liaison group meetings, and the Asia Desk participates in CCA programmes and coordinates a CCA Round Table. The Desk implements several programmes in collaboration with CCA; these include a Dignity of Children Programme, an Ecumenical Enabler’s Team in Asia (EETA), and capacity-building programmes. It also liaises between CCA and other WCC desks and teams on programmes in Asia.

asia desk


The overall objective of WCC regional groups is to facilitate analysis, coordination and sharing in order to promote a comprehensive and collaborative response to the social, economic, political and ecumenical situation of the region. Regional groups assist WCC member churches and partners to strengthen their reflection, coordination and joint action in diakonia and international ecumenical development cooperation. They provide the WCC with regional analysis, identifying priorities for future ecumenical action in the region. They fulfil, when necessary, a mediation role among ecumenical agencies and partners on policy or other important issues.

Report of the 2003 Asia Regional Group Meeting & Report from the WCC Asia Desk to the ARG


Churches in Asia have shared a common ecumenical vocation and solidarity for many years. The aim of this programme is to promote dialogue and consultation on issues of concern to the Asian churches, including cross-cultural exchange and exposure visits, inter-faith dialogue, peace and reconciliation, conflict resolution, human rights issues and strengthening of civil society.


The WCC Asia Desk co-ordinates the round table programmes and ecumenical sharing mechanisms of the following ecumenical and church-related bodies:

  • Amity Foundation of China Christian Council, People’s Republic of China

  • In 1986, after almost 45 years of Chinese isolation from the rest of the ecumenical movement, the WCC re-established programmatic cooperation with churches in the People’s Republic of China. The Amity Foundation - a body with a separate decision-making board, established by the China Christian Council - has demonstrated its ecumenical spirit and vision on behalf of the churches, and built up a strong social development ministry. The ecumenical family supports its core activities, which include:
    - emergency relief and rehabilitation;
    - long-term development training;
    - gender development;
    - work with differently-abled people, orphans and the elderly.
    In 2003, the resource-sharing mechanism was converted to a round table, under WCC coordination.

  • Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), Hong Kong

  • The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) is a fellowship of churches and national councils of churches in 18 countries in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The CCA Round Table, coordinated by the WCC Asia Desk, facilitates the ecumenical partners' and Asian churches' resource-sharing, and helps CCA to strengthen the Asian ecumenical movement and to encourage the spiritual enrichment and unity of the churches in Asia. The CCA Round Table is an ecumenical platform where activities, programmes and core budget are discussed, and full information on all aspects of CCA work is shared.

    CCA addresses the following issues and programmes :
    - wider ecumenism,
    - mission in a pluralistic context, and diverse identities,
    - gender and development issues,
    - human rights, and migrant workers, refugees and internally displaced people,
    - HIV/AIDS,
    - violence, terrorism, war, militarisation, conflict transformation,
    - spirituality,
    - Asian theologies,
    - ecumenical formation.

  • Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB)

  • The Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB) replaces the former Bangladesh Ecumenical Relief and Rehabilitation Services, launched by the WCC in 1972. Since its inception, CCDB has worked for poor and marginalised people in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in Asia.

    Major CCDB activities include:
    - rural development
    - people-managed savings and credit programmes;
    - work with ethnic/indigenous communities;
    - training traditional birth attendants;
    - women’s development programmes, and gender awareness programmes;
    - enhancing human and organisational potential.

    Other matters of concern in this flood-prone country include disaster- preparedness, and the inter-relationship between emergencies, rehabilitation and development.

    At a round table meeting in 2002, the construction of a long-awaited training centre, the HOPE Centre, was approved. Its construction began in January 2003. The centre will serve the training needs of CCDB’s own staff and reference groups, including other NGOs, as well as the needs of Bangladesh's churches.

  • Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), India

  • The Churches' Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) is the social development arm of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI). From its inception, CASA has served poor and marginalised people. Its core work is strategic intervention in empowerment and societal change. This has two strategic components: Planning, Human Potential Development (HPD), and People’s Action for Transformation (PAT).

    CASA's programme covers 4,844 villages spread over 12 states. Having completed the 1992-2002 programme cycle, CASA has drafted an action plan for the next decade.

    Amongst its many activities, CASA runs post-disaster rehabilitation and capacity-building programmes in the cyclone-affected villages of Orissa, the flood-hit regions of West Bengal, and the earthquake-devastated districts of Gujarat.

  • Ecumenical Partnership for Reconciliation and Reconstruction in East Timor (EPRET)

  • Action by Churches Together (ACT) has been working in East Timor in conjunction with the Protestant Church of East Timor (IPTL) and its community development arm, YASONA, since 1999. In response to the new situation created when the nation of East Timor was born in May 2002, it was decided to set up a new round table to support YASONA and IPTL. This new round table - the Ecumenical Partnership for Reconciliation and Reconstruction in East Timor (EPRET) - was launched in December 2002 at a meeting of East Timor church leaders and representatives of ecumenical development agencies and churches in the North. It now assists IPTL in its social development ministry and mission activities.

  • Myanmar Council of Churches

  • After decades of self-imposed isolation, Myanmar remains closed off from the rest of the world because of the policies of its authoritarian military regime. Its people and churches continue to suffer very difficult living conditions. The Myanmar Council of Churches Round Table aims to promote:
    - capacity-building and ecumenical formation;
    - long-term development programmes;
    - mission and evangelism;
    - theological education, including opportunities for exposure overseas;
    - programmes for participation by young people and women.

  • National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP)

  • The NCCP Round Table came into being at the time of the churches’ struggle against the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos. From the beginning, it has worked on
    - peace initiatives and political reform,
    - a new interpretation of mission and evangelism, and
    - churches’ involvement with human rights and environmental concerns.
    NCCP work on Philippines internal peace initiatives, the environment, and gender development has been very much welcomed by churches both inside and outside the country.

    NCCP programmes were recently restructured, and its staff structure modified accordingly; during a December 2002 meeting in Geneva of NCCP partners, it was reported that the NCCP had regained credibility and prestige as an institution with a clear agenda for transformation.

    Current NCCP programmes include: Ecumenical Education and Nurture; Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations; and Faith, Witness and Service.

  • PGI Crisis Centre/Communion of Churches in Indonesia

  • Since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998, Indonesia has continued to face socio-economic and political crises and religious conflicts. Thousands of people have been killed in religious violence in various parts of the country. With power divided between a diminished presidency and a military prepared, for now, to take a political back seat, Indonesia continues to wrestle with social and political instability, economic crisis and religious conflicts. Churches are in the midst of these conflicts.

    The PGI Crisis Centre was created to help member churches scattered around the country to coordinate their positions and actions.

    The PGI Crisis Centre aims to provide:
    - monitoring, analysis and interpretation of the situation;
    - peace education;
    - peace and conflict resolution;
    - inter-religious dialogue and cooperation in peace-making;
    - training of peace activists.

    A database on conflict situations in Indonesia was created with information from journals, newspapers, and interviews. Reconciliation and peace workshops and training were organised, and the Centre helped regional crisis centres - in Ambon and Central Sulawesi - to provide local capacity-building in mediation or conflict resolution. A quarterly bulletin describes the Centre's activities and provides news on the Indonesian situation.

  • Mekong Ecumenical Partnership Programme (MEPP)

  • An Ecumenical Forum on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – formerly called the Indochina Round Table - was the resource-sharing mechanism for the ecumenical family’s involvement in Indochina. Over the years, its emphasis moved from material aid to a concern for peace and reconciliation, and ensuring local churches’ participation.

    Until 1994, the WCC was operationally present in Cambodia; after 1994, a number of church-related agencies continued to promote long-term development there, and - with an inrush of outside churches and missionaries in the wake of the Paris Peace Agreement - tried to build up the capacity of the young Cambodian churches.

    In the changed political climate, work in Indochina continued through the Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia Forum and CCA contacts with churches - which finally culminated in the founding of the Kampuchea Christian Council in 1998. In 2001, it was decided to wind down the Forum and create an alternative resource-sharing mechanism to continue the partnership with churches in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

    Together with CCA, the WCC Asia Desk has prepared the foundations for the Mekong Ecumenical Partnership Programme (MEPP), to include Thailand, Myanmar and the Yunan Province of China, along with the three Indo-Chinese countries - Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The new programme will be officially launched at an October 2003 meeting of the ecumenical partners and churches from these six countries.

    South Asian Ecumenical Partnership Programme (SAEPP)
  • SAEPP guidelines

  • SAEPP communiqué

  • Towards social and humanitarian development in South Asia: the South Asian situation

  • In 2002, it was agreed that WCC and CCA in cooperation with South Asian national councils of churches, ecumenical development agencies, and churches from the North should launch a South Asia Ecumenical Partnership Programme as part of the global ecumenical family’s commitment to developing decentralised capacities for sharing and solidarity.

    SAEPP promotes coordination and cooperation among churches, NCCs and ecumenical partners in the South Asia region to allow a more effective ecumenical response to the pressing issues and needs.

    SAEPP will focus on:
    - an ecumenical agenda for combatting HIV/AIDS in South Asia;
    - capacity-building/human resource development;
    - equipping churches in their mission for peace and reconciliation;
    - assisting churches to nurture inter-religious co-operation.

    SAEPP objectives are:
    - to assist CCA/WCC member churches in the region to establish/develop and implement appropriate programmes in the four areas indicated above;
    - to foster capacity-building and human resource development programmes with the churches and NCCs in the region;
    - to encourage church ecumenical involvement in initiatives to promote peace and reconciliation;
    - to promote positive inter-church and inter-religious relations and a better understanding of the ecumenical movement and organisations in the region.

    Ecumenical Enablers' Team in Asia (EETA)
    Lack of potential leaders in churches and ecumenical councils has created a vacuum at local, national, regional and sub-regional levels in several Asian countries. Based on an assessment of the need to strengthen the leadership capacities of churches and councils in Asia, the WCC Asia Desk in collaboration with CCA in 2002 set up an Ecumenical Enabler’s Team in Asia (EETA), and identified countries with priority priority needs for capacity-building training.

    The EETA team includes selected trainers in fields such as leadership development; ecumenical formation; Bible studies; gender justice; social and human development; planning, monitoring and evaluation; financial management and strategic planning; project management; financial accounting; peace and conflict management.

    The trainers:

  • act as resource persons for training programmes organised by churches and ecumenical councils in various Asian countries;
  • will assist the WCC Asia Desk to implement capacity-building programmes in Asia over the next three years (2003-2005);
  • equip Asian churches and ecumenical councils to develop second- and third-line leaders and their ecumenical formation;
  • assist churches and councils to develop skills in the areas of planning, monitoring and evaluation, financial management, accounting principles, preparation of project proposals, writing of reports, etc.;
  • assist churches and councils through consultancy in appropriate areas of need.
  • The capacity-building programmes work in :

  • leadership development to encourage churches to be prophetic in their efforts to bring about a just and caring society;
  • organisational development/renewal of churches and ecumenical organisations to increase their efficiency in working within the constraints and requirements of the ecumenical movement;
  • development of capacity-building materials to inform and equip churches in their training programmes.

  • The programmes will be jointly coordinated by the WCC Asia Desk and CCA.

    Dignity of Children

    See also UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

    and List of Child Advocacy ‘Days’ in 2004

    Current programme in Asia
    Since 2001, the "Dignity of Children" programme has been regionally focused (and implemented through the regional desks of the Diakonia and Solidarity team) and has aimed to bring together and empower churches and church-related organizations in their work with children. Advocacy and networking are the main components of the programme, both of them aided by a consultation process.

    Asia regional consultation
    The Asia Desk started its "Dignity of Children" programme by organizing, in collaboration with CCA, an Asia regional consultation in Bangkok in November 2001 focusing on : "Affirming the fullness of life and dignity of children". Representatives from various Asian churches were invited to attend. They called for deeper analysis of the issues facing children, and an emphasis on networking and advocacy.
    Consultation communiqué

    National consultations
    To follow up the regional consultation, an Asian Ecumenical Network was formed comprising smaller national networks in countries such as Bangladesh, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. These networks aim to strengthen churches’ and ecumenical bodies’ support for the rights and dignity of children, and have all held their own consultations over the years 2002–04.
    Reports - please contact the Asia Desk

    Inter-regional consultation
    In order to implement the action plan of the inter-regional consultation held in Mumbai in January 2004, the Asian Dignity of Children programme will concentrate in 2004 and 2005 on "Overcoming violence against children". This ties in with the WCC Decade to Overcome Violence focus on Asia in 2005, and with the 12th Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) general assembly, whose theme is "Building communities of peace for all". Elaborating on the two main areas of January 2004 inter-regional consultation's action plan, current plans for 2004 and 2005 include:

    A. Advocacy

    • through resource mobilization (a Bible study guide on "Overcoming Violence" will be available for the use of Asian churches in 2005)
    • through supporting international advocacy efforts in our local contexts (see the list of national advocacy days for 2004)
    • through consultations (see below) and the dissemination of their communiqués and action plans.

    B. Networking - strengthening Dignity of Children networks through the following consultations

      Inter-regional level Sub-regional Level
    2004 Inter-regional consultation, Mumbai, January - report South Asia Network
    Sri Lanka, August - communiqué
      World Social Forum seminar , Mumbai, January - report South East Asia Network, Malaysia, September - communiqué
    2005 Inter-regional consultation
    Porto Alegre, Brazil, January
    East Asia Network, Mongolia, June
      World Social Forum seminar, Porto Alegre, Brazil, January  

    There will also be national consultations organised through the national networks. For more information on these consultations, please contact the Asia Desk.

    In order for network members to keep in contact and to be informed and inform other members about resources, information and discussions, there are two sub-regional e-mail groups in Asia. To be included in this email group, please contact the Asia Desk.

    World Social Forum seminar
    As part of the ecumenical contribution to the 2004 World Social Forum in Mumbai, the WCC facilitated a seminar on children’s issues.

    In January 2004, the WCC Diakonia and Solidarity Team facilitated a seminar called "Building an alternative world: affirming the dignity of children". This seminar gave space for inter-faith reflection on the following questions:

    • In the context of globalization, what are possible alternative methods and approaches (including both current examples and ideas for the future development) for building a world which upholds children’s dignity?
    • What can faith movements do to build this alternative world where the dignity of children is affirmed?
    Seminar report








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