The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
IX Meeting of the 9th Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean Plenary Session
Delivered on his behalf by Ms. Nihal Saad
Spokesperson for the UN High Representative
February 2–4, Monaco
Your Excellency, Laurent Nouvion, Speaker of the Parliament of Monaco
Your Excellency Senator Francesco Amoruso, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean,
Your Excellency, Amb Sergio Piazzi, PAM Secretary General
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to participate in the 9th Plenary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean.
On behalf of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, I would like to thank the generosity of the Principality of Monaco for hosting the gathering this year.
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser conveys his profound regrets on being unable to participate in person in this Plenary session.
I am honored to deliver a message on his behalf:
Statement by his Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
United Nations High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations
First, allow me to express the profound appreciation of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM). Since its inception in 2005, it has played a time-needed role in promoting transnational parliamentary diplomacy, essential to building peace, security, understanding and confidence among peoples and nations. Allow me to note that the themes that you have chosen for your discussion in the Standing Committee are very timely.
We have been witnessing over the past weeks and months the alarming rise of radicalism, terrorist attacks, and continued incitement to hatred.
Manifestations of religious based intolerance and violence are increasing across the globe. Such unjustifiable acts have culminated into targeted killings against innocent people from different faiths, perpetuating stereotyping, xenophobia and racism. Such unwarranted prejudices would only play into the hands of terrorists and threaten international security and stability as well as human rights and development. Moreover, these acts violate the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and International Law.
The scourge we are all facing as a Global human Family runs contrary to the values of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations which embraces as its core mission the promotion of cultural diversity, religious tolerance, inclusiveness as well as peaceful and meaningful dialogue in accordance with universally accepted norms and ethics.
The United Nations, since its inception was given the sacred task of addressing threats to international peace and security. The existing UNGA and Security Council resolutions as well as other UN and regional instruments, provide the international community with the appropriate legal and ethical tools to prevent and combat conditions conducive to the spread of extremism, violence and terrorism.
Sadly and despite the efforts made, certain ideological mindsets continue to project their ugly face in our world. Yet, these vicious forces should not hamper our efforts nor dissuade our political will to prevent and fight extremism, discrimination and xenophobia in all its forms including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Christian sentiment. These collective efforts should remain one of the core aspects of the work of the international community for the sake of its human sustainable development.
We should not forget that there is a need for universally agreed parameters to tackle hate speech and radical rhetoric in all its forms whether on line, in print, or any other medium. We should do so, while being mindful of the freedom of expression as a fundamental human right that is being practiced in a constructive manner to safeguard international security and public safety.
Having said this, we cannot ignore our collective responsibility to do so.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The UN Security Council acts through its Resolutions – particularly 2170 and 2178 call for stronger international efforts to address the challenges of “Foreign Terrorist Fighters.” It is important to note that the number of foreign terrorist fighters is on the rise. Recent Statsitics have highlighted an unsettling truth: many foreign fighters are not only recruited from Arab countries but also from European ones. This dynamic raises the question of how terrorists are effectively able to recruit young people from across the globe.
The PAM organization has early recognized the major institutional role it can play as a regional unit in countering threats such as (1) terrorism in all its forms; (2) the deep socio-political changes of the MENA region since 2012; as well as (3) sustainable development goals in line with the Post-2015 Agenda. I can only be optimistic to witness that these efforts are being reinforced with the PAM 2013-2017 Strategic and Action Plan.
I would also like to highlight that the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations stands by PAM in these efforts to advance democratic governance and to counter extremism/terrorism with programs and activities, which target and involve young leaders in promoting peace, cultural diversity, tolerance and democratic processes in the Mediterranean region. And I would like to echo here the words of Sen Francesco Amuroso on the need to promote intercultural dialogue.
Allow me to highlight a few of our projects:
(1) (Intercultural Innovation Award) IIA: established in 2011 in partnership with the BMW Group, aims at identifying and at providing support to highly innovative grassroots initiatives working to alleviate identity-based tensions and conflicts around the world. Importantly, these projects promote intercultural dialogue and understanding, thereby making vital contributions to prosperity and peace.
(2) Entrepreneurs for Social Change brings together 20-25 aspiring young social entrepreneurs from the Euro-Med region for a targeted five-day to address obstacles that can often lead to marginalization, radicalization and extremism.
(3) The Fellowship Program: gives emerging leaders from these societies opportunities to become more familiar with the diverse realities and cultural environments of the others. This approach is particularly powerful as it is an experiential tool for dialogue aiming to improve intercultural relations and therefore
(4) Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF): provides seed funding to outstanding youth-led initiatives that promote long-term constructive relationships among people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds to promote more peaceful societies.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you may all be aware of, the world will gather in September 2015, to review and assess the Millennium Development Goals launched in 2005 as well as the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
My long experience at the United Nations has taught me that if we are to live in an inclusive and understanding world, essential human elements have to be secured such as the end of poverty, hunger, education and the transnational situation for migrants.
We cannot deny that we are currently experiencing religiously and culturally driven conflicts around the world. These conflicts threaten the sustainable development of human life, and therefore the overall of the Post-2015 Agenda.
And unfortunately, no one country is fully protected against the threats of environmental concerns, intolerance and extremism.
I truly believe that by bringing people together, through common interests and intercultural dialogue, we can visualize the necessary tools to eradicate the threats to human life such as global warming, poverty and terrorism. The global conversation for the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda is happening now. I trust that the PAM Plenary Session can greatly contribute to its advancement.
Having said this, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations attaches great importance to the role of PAM in dialogue among civilizations.
Based on four key pillars, namely youth, education, media, and migration, UNAOC occupies a unique place within the UN family. It allows to reduce tensions and conflicts between peoples and nations stressing the shared heritage of humanity, rather than differences.
In that regard, I would like to praise PAM’s efforts with the 5+5 Dialogue strategy launched with the Naouakchott Declaration in 2013, which acknowledges driving considerations such as the (1) shared common cultural heritage between peoples on “both of the Mediterranean”; (2) the fundamental importance of North-South partnership to face transnational problems and (3) the prime role of inter-parliamentary cooperation to enhance dialogue.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This time-pressing session will allow us to reaffirm that by focusing our efforts to understand how dialogue can be a valuable antidote to rejection, violence, and extremism we can enable people to live together in peaceful and inclusive societies.