Remarks by USG Miguel Moratinos
High Representative for UNAOC
at the Quarterly Briefing of the
United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) to Member States
7 September 2023, 10:00 am, Conference Room 1, United Nations New York
Thank you Mr. Chair,
I wish to focus my briefing today on “prevention” and recall what the Secretary-General has repeatedly stressed that we need to invest more in prevention which remains chronically underprioritized. UNAOC prevention initiatives continues to be people-centered.
Here are few examples of activities carried out in 2023:
Against the backdrop of the rapidly growing presence and activities of terrorist groups and extremists in several parts of Africa, UNAOC continued to strengthen its activities in Africa with focus on the role of women as peacemakers:
As part of Women’s Alliance for Peace initiative, UNAOC brought together a group of 18 women mediators for a mediation and conflict mitigation training workshop at the ‘Ecole de Maintien de la Paix’. The participants discussed the inclusion of women in informal negotiation processes with clear mandates; scaling up mediation at the local level and moving from local mediation to mediation at the regional and national levels; the sensibilization of authorities, religious leaders and other key actors about the role of women in mediation. In July 2023, UNAOC and Fundación Mujeres por África co-organized a 4-day capacity-building workshop for 50 women peacemakers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Central African Republic and Mozambique, in Kinshasa, DRC. The Kinshasa workshop, hosted in collaboration with Pelagie Foundation, provided a platform for women mediators to focus on the crucial topic of mitigating conflicts and addressing violence, particularly sexual violence against women and girls.
To ensure mainstreaming a gender-centered approach effectively, UNAOC, UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF joined forces and launched the pilot initiative “Strengthening Young Women Peacebuilders’ Capacity in Complex Crisis”. The project supports young women leading civil society organizations in fragile and/or conflict-affected countries by providing them with capacity building, strengthening their fundraising skills and creating a space for peer-exchange, networking and sharing of best practices and lessons learned. During a workshop in Tbilisi, Georgia, in March 2023, 20 young women from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East increased their skills in normative peacebuilding frameworks. They raised their awareness about the benefits of interreligious and intercultural dialogue to foster mutual understanding and build sustainable peace.
We continue to strengthen the role of youth across our policy areas . Through our flagship program Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF) which was featured in the Peacebuilding Funding Dashboard as one of five main Funds for Peacebuilding in the United Nations system, continued to provide seed funding and capacity building to youth-led organizations, contributing to peace and security challenges in their communities. In 2023, we continued to mentor the five grant recipients of 2022 and they are :Health and Rural Development (HARD) Balochistan, Pakistan; United World College Alumni Association/ Architects of Diversity, Malaysia; Khaled Hijab and Sabah al Borini/ Tech Tribes, Jordan; The Leaders Who Dare to Dream Foundation, South Africa; and Association Development by Young People (ADYP), Burkina Faso. As a result, 5,667 people, most of whom were youth, directly benefitted from the projects. They reached over 1 million beneficiaries through advocacy campaigns, online engagement and public events. In April 2023, UNAOC launched a call for applications for the 10th edition of the Youth Solidarity Fund, with the selection process currently underway.
Acknowledging the importance of sports in disseminating positive values across civilizations, UNAOC provided technical expertise to the ‘Sport for One Humanity’ initiative established by Turkish Airlines. The main objective of the initiative is to select and support innovative sports-based projects implemented by civil society organizations that promote a culture of peace, mutual understanding and cooperation. The project was completed by an in-person workshop in Madrid in March 2023 where participants had mentoring sessions facilitated by a pool of experts including LaLiga. The ten sports-based projects come from Cameroon, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, North Macedonia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Uganda and Vietnam.
Under UNOCT and in partnership with UNICRI and the International Centre for Sport Security, we continue to deliver on the “United Nations Global Programme on Security of Major Sporting Events, and Promotion of Sport and Its Values as a Tool to Prevent Violent Extremism” and to enhance engagement with national focal points through organizing a series of virtual expert meetings to address current and/or emerging issues concerning sport and PVE. The first session organized in 2023 focused on fostering gender mainstreaming to pursue PVE goals through sport and developing new guidelines for Member States and sports federations.
The UNGA Resolution “The United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy” 8th Review, encouraged the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to pursue initiatives that promote diversity, pluralism and tolerance and emphasized that tolerance, pluralism, respect for diversity, dialogue among civilizations and the enhancement of interreligious and intercultural understanding and respect among peoples, including at the national, regional and global levels, while avoiding the escalation of hatred, are among the most important elements in promoting cooperation, in combating terrorism and in preventing and countering violent extremism as and when conducive to terrorism. In an effort to develop new pedagogical tools fostering intercultural dialogue, UNAOC, in collaboration with the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, the Aga Khan Development Network, the KAICIID – Dialogue Centre and the Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir – European Institute of Education for Democratic Culture, has jointly designed a “Tutored Online Training Course on Global Education and Intercultural/Interfaith Dialogue”. The course is scheduled to take place from 18 September to 15 October 2023.
That was in nutshell an overview of our activities in the past few months.
I thank you.