The Archbishop of Canterbury's role as a figure of unity of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is represented in over 130 countries, means that he is in a unique position to bring the needs and voices of those facing poverty, disease and the effects of conflict to the attention of national and international policy makers and donor agencies.
The International Development Secretariat at Lambeth Palace has been operational since 2005, and works to build relationships between Anglican partners, and Christian and secular organisations in the development world, to facilitate community-based development and peace building. It seeks to help governments, UN agencies and international NGOs understand how they can work more effectively with Anglican partners and other faith-based organisations on development issues.
The department places a priority on collaborating with other Christian organisations in the field to do joint visits, training and programme development. It is involved a number of community development programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on education, but also peace building, micro-finance and HIV programmes.
It also works to support Communion-wide advocacy on the Millennium Development Goals and other issues through the work of the Anglican Observer to the United Nations and the recently-formed Anglican Alliance.