REMARKS OF H.E. MR. NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER
High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
At First High Level Meeting of International Organizations at the
4th World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue (WFID)
Baku, 5 May 2017
Your Excellency, Mr Abulfas Garayev, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan
Excellencies from international organizations and partners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to recall the relevance of Chapter VIII “8” of the UN Charter, on the cooperation between regional arrangements with the UN in maintaining international peace and security. To that end, the international community and the UN would not be able to advance their agenda without the crucial cooperation of sub-regional arrangements and regional actors.
During the past 4 years, the UN Alliance of Civilizations has expanded its outreach and engagement with other UN agencies and organizations. We contributed to the UNSG’s TOGETHER initiative through our collaboration with DPI. We are also members of the CTITF Working Group on Communications that aim at coordinating an ALL-of–UN strategy for communication on programs to counter terrorism and preventing violent extremism. Moreover , we sought to strengthen our collaboration with existing international and regional organizations such the League of Arab States, The Organization for Islamic Cooperation, The European Union, The Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Turkic Council, Onuart Foundation and KAICIID.
We have been working towards promoting inclusive dialogue and achieving sustainable development in partnership with several governments, regional and international organizations. I would like to seize the opportunity to express our greatest appreciation for the accomplishments achieved together. We are proud of this partnership and we look forward to achieving much more progress.
Human security, social inclusion and sustainable development are the prerequisites for achieving peace. These components are intertwined and reflected in all our projects and activities to promote intercultural dialogue and build peaceful societies. Human security places people at the center of strategies and actions, emphasizing the importance of dignity, human rights and development. This is what we do at UNAOC.
Through our 4 pillars, namely migration, media, education and youth, we ensure that young people and civil society leaders are at the core of our work.
While developing our programs and activities, we make sure that no one is left behind, that everyone gets access to education and learning programs, employment, and equal opportunities. We work towards restoring dialogue, proving the virtues of respect and understanding, the richness of diversity. We give back their dignity and their future to those who have been deprived of their rights.
Let me give you a few illustrations. Through our #SpreadNoHate initiative launched in December 2015, we have reached out to million of people worldwide on the issue of hate speech against migrants and refugees fleeing war and conflict.
Thanks to 4 Symposia organized in collaboration with the European Union, IOM, journalists, media organizations and other key partners from civil society and the private sector, we have succeeded in mobilizing people for a shift in the treatment of migrants and refugees in the media and on internet, thus contributing to protect their dignity and fostering their integration in host communities. #SpreadNoHate has been contributing to build peaceful and inclusive societies by combating discrimination and racism.
Interfaith and intercultural dialogue is key in all the activities that the Alliance is leading. Another concrete example of how UNAOC contributes to building social inclusion and promoting peace is the Young Peace-builders project. We launched the first iteration of this promising project in West Africa in December 2016. Thanks to these activities, 20 young coming from 12 countries in the region were trained on how to address stereotypes and polarization.
Human security cannot be achieved without sustainable development, which depends widely on the role of civil society actors and grassroots organizations.
Therefore, the Alliance has been supporting young civil society leaders and grassroots organizations through the Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF). In the past 18 months, UNAOC provided grants and technical support to 11 youth led organizations working on preventing conflict and promoting peace and social inclusion. By doing so, the Alliance contributes to achieving peace and human security but also to implementing the SDGs.
Progress and innovation must be part of our priorities. They can only be revealed through partnerships. This is why UNAOC has been carrying out for the 7th year the Intercultural Innovation Award (IAA) in partnership with the BMW Group, which has been a real mentor for so many civil society leaders.
It is crucial to address the problem of youth unemployment, not only to ensure their development, but also to prevent instability, social conflict and reduce violent extremism. Most of today’s conflicts are fuelled by the lack of access to resources and opportunities, inequality, sectarian divides, poor governance, marginalization and exclusion.
They are exacerbated by population growth and the globalization of violence and terrorism.
The spread of violent extremism around the world shows how complex and challenging this is. Yet we spend far more time and resources responding to crises rather than preventing them. While the causes of crisis are deeply interlinked, our response remains fragmented.
Military actions and security measures cannot be the only response to these challenges. The interconnected nature of today’s crises requires us to connect our own efforts for peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, not just in words, but in practice.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on sustaining peace demonstrate strong intergovernmental support for an integrated approach.
The challenge now is to make corresponding changes to our culture, strategy, structures and operations. We need a whole new approach to put an end to these global scourges. We must commit to achieve human security and sustainable development, in partnership with regional organizations, mobilizing the entire range of those with influence, from religious authorities to civil society and the business community. And let’s not forget to bring youth and women to the table. There cannot be inclusive and resilient societies without the participation of women.
When gender equality imbued the social fabric, societies have a much better chance of achieving stability and preserving human dignity and prosperity.
For the future, we need to do far more to prevent war and sustain peace. The UN reforms that our new Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, is setting in motion aim to achieve this. Together, we need to demonstrate leadership and strengthen the credibility and authority of our organizations by putting peace first.
If we live up to our responsibilities, we will save lives, reduce suffering and give hope to millions. As Mr. Guterres said in his first message as Secretary-General: “Let us make this year, 2017, a year for peace.”