The role of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has never been more relevant to the 2030 Agenda objective of “building more peaceful, just and resilient societies,” Secretary-General António Guterres said on 19 November, the opening day of the eighth annual Global Forum.
He explained its mission as “fundamental to peace, to security, to sustainable development, to the world we need to build,” while underscoring the need to promote conditions where people of different identities, faiths and cultures “can live in harmony, free of discrimination and persecution.”
“We must all work together to build societies that are truly respectful and inclusive, where diversity is seen as a richness, not a threat” said UN chief.
To do this he set out a list of activities that began with engaging in inclusive dialogue.
“I am particularly pleased that the Alliance of Civilizations is providing a global space for religious leaders to exchange views and explore how to amplify their role,” he said.
For her part, General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa flagged that the world is facing “a complex global juncture marked by multiple crisis,” including poverty, inequality, climate change, forced migration, conflicts, terrorism and intolerance, for call for “a strong collective action and global agreements.”
“To build those agreements, dialogue is the most powerful mean,” she maintained.
The Alliance’s High Representative, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, highlighted that despite notable achievements in key areas of work – such as in preventing hate speech, supporting intercultural and interfaith dialogue, empowering youth and strengthening peace education – “inciters of hate take pride in driving a wedge between different ethnic groups and civilizations.”
“For them, culture is a source of division, instead of a basis for dialogue and richness,” he said, adding that these challenges “require our collective resolve.”
The Alliance co-sponsors Deputy Prime Minister of Spain Carmen Calvo and Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu also addressed the group.
Minister Çavuşoğlu stated that the Alliance, which was established in 2005 at Turkey’s initiative, has reached up to 146 states, and is among UN groups with most members. Minister Çavuşoğlu also noted that the Alliance members have been working together for lasting peace.