HR Remarks at the High Level Task Force Meeting
on the 4th World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue
December 5, 2016 | Paris – UNESCO HQ
Your Excellency, Mr Abulfas Garayev,
Minister of Culture & Tourism of Azerbaijan
Excellencies, from partner organizations
Ladies & Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be in this meeting and engage with colleagues from organizations that we have partnered with the since the year 2011. In this context, I would like to commend the efforts of my good friend H.E. Mr. Abulfas Garayev, the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan for his commitment to the Baku process and for the success this forum has achieved so far under his leadership.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations is proud of its partnership with the Government of Azerbaijan .
The theme selected for the 4th World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue is very timely: From Intercultural Dialogue to Human Security, from peace to sustainable development. The four notions : Intercultural dialogue, human security, peace and sustainable development are intertwined and inseparable. This is particularly true as our world today is changing rapidly and in unpredictable ways. The paradox is that as we grow more connected through migration, trade and technology, we are becoming more apart. Our evolvement into multicultural , multilingual diverse societies can become confusing and intimidating to many people. It is, therefore, essential to foster dialogue as an essential tool for achieving peace and security in the broadest sense. Intercultural dialogue can defuse tensions and promote reconciliation. That is the essence of the mission of UNAOC.
It would be stating the obvious to say that respect for diversity and embracing our shared values is conducive to our shared security as global people living together in a global world. This by default will make peace prevail and with peace comes prosperity and development.
Much of what the UN does, and indeed much of what we are trying to address through the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development will guide all of us through 2030. There is a need to address certain imbalances that impede our progress towards achieving sustainable development and global security. Marginalization, economic austerity, inequity and lack of good governance are only few of the imbalances that tarnish our world In the 21st century.
From its outset, the Baku Process sought to establish a platform in which today’s challenges can be discussed in the spirit of intercultural dialogue and universal values. A key concept that was accepted at the first Baku Forum is the notion that intercultural dialogue has become a necessary element of the contemporary world as the unavoidable consequence of globalization and super diversity.
We tend to forget sometimes that as the world becomes economically more interdependent, we face increasing challenges of living harmoniously together in a world of different cultures, languages, beliefs, ethnic loyalties and patterns of behavior. With the increasing movement of peoples across the globe, there is hardly any more society that can claim to be completely homogenous. The challenge is how to forge a united and harmonious society which respects, not just tolerates, differences, especially of the minorities. In our world today, inclusiveness has become a pre-requisite for a peaceful society – all societies. This calls for careful attention to migration laws. We are seeing in the news every day, tragic stories of desperate young people perishing in the Mediterranean sea while attempting to seek a better life in Europe. At the same time we are also hearing of violence and xenophobia against African non-citizens claiming lives in Africa.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Promoting and strengthening intercultural dialogue is an essential tool to prevent and defeat violent and extremist ideologies.
Today we are uniting our thoughts and efforts at a critical time shaped by unprecedented human progress but also by sectarianism and transnational acts of violent extremism. These factors are led by intolerant ideologies that seek to divide humanity based on false versions and interpretations of religious, cultural and social values. Such unjustifiable acts have culminated into targeted killings against innocent people from different faiths, perpetuating stereotyping, xenophobia, racism and discrimination.
No one can deny the short and long-term damaging results of these factors of instability, particularly on international peace and security as well as development. However, we can prevent the reach of extremist ideologies within our societies, particularly through strong and effective visions for our partnerships and institutions, and above all, through intercultural and interreligious dialogue. Allow me to recall, the UN General Assembly Resolution 59/23 of 11 November 2004 which affirmed that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue among civilizations constituted important dimensions of the dialogue among civilizations and of the culture of peace.
I thank you and I am looking forward to our discussions today.