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Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance re-established under World Council of Churches

6. March 2015

    The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance have agreed to re-establish the EAA as the WCC’s ecumenical initiative, preserving the future of this diverse Christian network for international action on selected, focused issues.

    “The WCC is very happy to announce the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is to become a WCC ecumenical initiative,” said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC. “The EAA and the WCC leadership worked together to find the means to continue the EAA’s unique network and advocacy approach in a more sustainable structural form.”

    Over the past 14 years, the EAA has brought together Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Orthodox churches and Christian organizations to address campaigns on focused issues. Designed as an organization meant to maximize the impact of faith-based voices and action for justice, the EAA has built a high level of recognition for Christian expertise and advocacy, particularly in the areas of HIV and AIDS, sustainable agriculture and food security. However, like many other faith-based and civil society organizations, it has faced financial challenges over the last several years leading to discussions among its members and partners on the most effective use of financial resources.

    “We are delighted that the EAA’s diverse network and unique ecumenical advocacy approach can continue to help churches and Christian organizations to speak out with one voice and take action together for justice, health and dignity,” said Rev. Dr Richard Fee, chair of the EAA board of directors and general secretary of the Life and Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. “The EAA has proven itself an effective model for ecumenical advocacy, and we are delighted that the WCC can host this precious ecumenical space for the mutual benefit of all those involved.”

    “The EAA was founded on the principle that the more we can speak and act together, the stronger our impact for justice will be,” said Fee. “This is a fundamental ecumenical principle which the EAA has developed creatively and effectively for over a decade. Clearly, the need for people of faith to speak out against injustice remains as vital as ever, and together we can strengthen our witness for peace, security and dignity,” Fee concluded.

    “This is one concrete way for the World Council of Churches strategically to give leadership and play an important role as convenor for the ecumenical movement. I’m glad that we are able to develop the important work of the EAA into the WCC with a focus on sustainable agriculture and HIV and AIDS. The EAA will bring to WCC experience in collaborating on advocacy with its members,” said Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, the WCC’s associate general secretary.

    The EAA was founded in December 2000 as an instrument for broad ecumenical cooperation in advocacy – both in terms of Christian traditions and in types of organizations. Participating organizations select two specific issues of global concern for focused campaigning over a four-year period. Since its establishment, the EAA has focused on HIV and AIDS. From 2009, its second focus has been on food security and sustainable agriculture.

    The WCC housed the EAA administratively from its founding until 2009 when it became an independent association under Swiss law. Close collaboration continued between the two organizations, particularly through the campaign strategy groups with representatives from EAA members and partners.

    EAA’s most recent efforts on HIV and AIDS have focused on access to treatment and advocacy to overcome stigma and discrimination, particularly through dialogue between religious leaders and people living with HIV.

    The EAA has also developed a leadership role among faith-based and civil society advocates in negotiations concerning agriculture in United Nations Climate Change talks, as well as in international policy arenas in areas of food and nutrition security.

    Website of the World Council of Churches: www.oikoumene.org

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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