REMARKS OF H.E. MR. NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER
High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
The World Forum Ministerial Meeting
4th World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue
Baku, 6 May 2017
Your Excellency Mr. Abulfas Garayev, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan,
Your Excellencies Heads of Delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Yesterday, I heard very inspiring words from the distinguished participants in this forum on the importance of promoting intercultural dialogue between nations and peoples from different origins and background to build inclusive societies, and achieve development and human security.
I followed closely the discussions on innovative approaches to foster intercultural dialogue as a tool to prevent violent extremism, the role of development agencies as driving forces for social inclusion, the importance of sharing responsibilities to achieve human security and so on.
We also learned about the power of e-resources as well as tourism to transform our globalized societies and bring them closer to our shared values of tolerance, understanding and dialogue for a better future.
There was consensus among the speakers who came from different parts of the World that cherishing these common values, embracing our diversity and promoting social inclusion is the only way to achieve human security and peace in today’s World.
Our world is facing unprecedented peace and security challenges that result from a lack of prevention, a lack of cohesion and human solidarity, and from insufficient implementation of human rights obligations, including social and economic rights.
We all agree on the fact that peace, sustainable development and human security are closely intertwined and mutually reinforcing. Therefore, peace must be relentlessly pursued along the continuum of prevention, conflict resolution and long-term development.
We need a global response that addresses the root causes of conflict and integrates peace, sustainable development and human rights in a holistic way. Member States have the primary responsibility to integrate the promotion and protection of human rights in their national policies. Protecting young generations from conflict situations is one of the best investments we can make to achieve sustainable peace and human security. The Alliance of civilizations through its programming contributes to implement this goal by empowering young people and putting youth at the core of UNAOC activities.
Ensuring improved action on human rights is a critical part of meeting this challenge, as is achieving urgent progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Allow me to remind you that in the year 2000, the international community agreed on a set of Millennium Development goals, to ensure globalization would act as a positive force for all peoples. Since 2000 onwards the power of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue has been recognized and momentum for the new Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) has grown rapidly since then.
The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 was a critical milestone for the World. The 2030 Agenda compels us to look beyond national boundaries and short-term interests, and act in solidarity for the long-term. The goals we committed to can only be achieved through a solid international cooperation and renewed partnerships. Meeting the SDGs by 2030 will require not only strong policies, but also significant implementation capacity, adequate financing, and effective alliances.
The universal implementation of the Agenda also requires a strong, effective and relevant United Nations system in its three pillars: development, human rights and peace and security. Investing in sustaining peace means investing in basic services, bringing humanitarian and development agencies together, building more effective and accountable institutions, protecting human rights, promoting social cohesion and diversity, ensuring the meaningful participation of youth, women and girls in all areas of society.
Through two of its four pillars, namely youth and education, the Alliance is committed to contribute to achieving the SDGs. Education is a prerequisite for both peace and economic development. Good quality education systems can help transform societies, especially those affected by conflict.
Youth unemployment deprives millions of young people of the opportunity to fulfill their potential. Too often, it leads to violent extremism and terrorism.
A human-centered, culturally centered approach to peace and development will yield the most effective, sustainable and inclusive outcomes. Specifically, intercultural dialogue must be used as a tool to promote mutual respect and understanding, foster social cohesion and reconciliation, and achieve peace and human security.
In April of last year, the UN General Assembly and the Security Council decided to advance a new approach to peace by adopting the so-called ‘sustaining peace’ resolutions in their respective chambers, thereby signaling a new cross-sectorial, comprehensive, and integrated approach to the maintenance of international peace and security.
The resolutions expand the notion of peacebuilding to include a definition of ‘sustaining peace,’ which should be broadly understood as a goal and a process to building a common vision of a society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account. Taken in tandem, the 2030 Agenda and the resolutions make it clear that sustainable development and sustaining peace are two agendas that stand or fall together.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Alliance of Civilizations has launched a number of initiatives to support the goals of sustainable development and achieve peace and human security. If you look at the 17 goals proposed by the Open Working Group, you will see that each and every one of them calls for dialogue across civilizations and religions. Each of these goals can only be achieved if people, communities and nations work together across cultures, religions and ethnicities.
The mission of the Alliance is particularly in line with goal number 16, which states the need for securing peaceful and inclusive societies.
This is why, last year, here in Baku, our 7th UNAOC Global Forum “Living together in inclusive societies: a challenge and a goal” was dedicated to platforms and partnership for the prevention of violent extremism, as well as good practices in social inclusion. The adoption by consensus of the Baku Declaration outlined the role of intercultural and interfaith dialogue in achieving peace and preventing violent extremism.
Allow me to re-iterate again, that the Alliance is dedicated to the proposition that cultural, ethnic and religious diversity are pillars of sustainable development. It requires partnerships on all fronts.
We partner with civil society, the business community, governments, international and regional organizations, media, academia as well as faith-based organizations to promote and fund projects and programs that support the role of young people of all denominations in social and economic growth and contribute to achieve development and peace.
We are gathered here today in the shared belief that the 17 SDGs are achievable and require our commitment to nurture inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue in all communities for the sake of peaceful and inclusive societies.
Now let’s use the goals to transform the World and build a better future where no-one is left behind.
I thank you and I look forward to our discussions.