The Bahá'í International Community and the United Nations
More than a century ago, Bahá'u'lláh called for the creation of a system of international governance, based on the principle of collective security, which would encompass all of the nations of the world and lay the foundations for a lasting and universal peace. In seeking to promote this concept, as well as to engender justice, peace and prosperity at the international level, the worldwide Bahá'í community has, as a duly accredited non-governmental organization, long worked closely with the United Nations, supporting many of its goals and programs. Bahá'í representatives were present in 1945 in San Francisco at the founding of the United Nations. In 1947, the Bahá'í communities of the United States and Canada were recognized by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). The next year, in 1948, the Bahá'í International Community itself was recognized by the UN DPI as an international non-governmental organization.
The worldwide Bahá'í community has long worked closely with the United Nations, supporting many of its goals and programs. Shown above are Bahá'í representatives Ugo Giachery and Mildred Mottahedeh (third row from back, looking at the camera) at an early UN conference in Geneva, in May 1948.
In May 1970, the Bahá'í International Community was granted consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), allowing for a greater degree of interaction with the Council and its subsidiary bodies in efforts to promote social and economic development worldwide. In March 1976, the Bahá'í International Community was granted consultative status with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), similarly extending opportunities for interaction with the United Nations to promote the health, education and well-being of children.
Relationships with these and other UN bodies and agencies have deepened over the years. Today, for example, the Community enjoys a working relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), it has an association with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and it has undertaken joint activities with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
As an international non-governmental organization, the Bahá'í International Community is involved in a wide range of activities, including peace-building , human rights, women's affairs , education, health, and sustainable development.
These concerns are addressed not only at the United Nations, but through
collaboration with other international non-governmental organizations. The
Bahá'í International Community, for example, is a member of the Advocates
for African Food Security: Lessening the Burden on Women; of World Wide
Fund for Nature's Network on Conservation and Religion; of the Center for
Our Common Future in Geneva; and of the Education for All Network.