BALI, INDONESIA – 28 AUGUST 2014
Dear Focal points,
Excellencies and Friends,
Welcome to Bali!
Today, we celebrate our 6th Global Forum. This island is such an icon of rich heritage, in this country, Indonesia, with 230 million citizens from various backgrounds, what could be better to set the example for pluralism and coexistence.
In many ways this has been our most ambitious Global Forum to date.
Gathering under the banner “Unity in Diversity”, the motto of our host country, Indonesia, I am confident that the varied sessions and events we will participate in between now and Saturday midday will be rich in their color and substance.
I am grateful to H.E. Dr. Marty Natalagawa, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, and the joint Organizing Committee of both Indonesia and UNAOC. Thanks to these efforts, we could make it and gather here despite the various challenges that faced us as organizers.
Today, close to 4 months since we last met in Doha at the preparatory conference for this forum, we are able to say that the promises made regarding the preparation of the Bali Forum have been met.
Tomorrow morning we will convene to discuss a number of important topics. The Secretary-General and the President of Indonesia will speak to us about their concerns facing the world. I know the Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the rise of tensions and conflicts that carry a tone of interreligious or intercultural friction.
I, too, share those concerns and will be doing all I can in the years to come to increase the efforts of UNAOC to advance the agenda of interreligious and intercultural dialogue as a means of contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflict.
I will also address the Ministerial meeting of our Group of Friends where we will discuss the worrying state of the world affairs.
There I will also tell the Ministers what I am about to say to you with regard the fiscal challenges facing the Alliance of Civilizations. The Alliance needsmore and regular financial support. Last year we provided you with the graphic evidence of the decline of financial support from the member states. This decline is made even worse by the fact that an ever-growing percentage of the support we do receive is earmarked for particular projects. This support, while welcomed with our full hearts, cannot suffice our operational needs.
Still another fiscal problem comes with the uncertainty of the time of the year when support does arrive. Funding that reaches us too late in the year makes it very difficult to comply with the requests for reporting on result-based activities.
As High Representative, I have pursued public and private partnerships. Also pursuing an arrangement with the UN Foundation that will allow us to have contributions directed to our Trust Fund from private donors. But these efforts are complementary. They cannot replace and should not replace the committed support of the member states.
You, our Focal Points, are uniquely placed to be our advocates within your governments. We need that advocacy now more than ever before. I’m confident that the UNAOC is also very important to you.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I look forward to hearing from you on how you view our mission and how can we work together to fulfill our common targets for the Alliance.
Before that, I would like to drag your attention to a key element we achieved through our cooperation. Thanks to your support, we successfully concluded the consultations on the Bali Declaration, which took place between June and August.
My Chef de Cabinet, Amb. Tariq Al-Ansari, whom I entrusted with this process, has been in contact with you and your colleagues in New York. I herby invite him to discuss the text in greater detail.