Meeting of the Group of Friends of the United Nations Alliance of Civilization

The State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fernando Valenzuela, co-presided the inauguration of the Alliance of Civilization Group of Friends meeting alongside the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of for Foreign Affairs of Turkey and the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. The meeting focused on the Culture of Peace Agenda.

The State Secretary highlighted that the Alliance of Civilizations constitutes a valuable instrument for the Culture of Peace agenda, for preventative diplomacy and for “soft power”. It contributes to reducing tensions by addressing the underlying causes of the conflicts, promoting inclusive societies and encouraging partnerships with civil society.

The need to work in favour of a culture of peace and dialogue among civilisations is present in the main instruments of the United Nations, from the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights up to more recent instruments such as the Declaration of the Sustainable Development Goals.

State Secretary Valenzuela highlighted the need to further involve civil society, young people, women, religious leaders, corporations and the media in initiatives that promote dialogue among cultures.

In this regard, the importance of youth and education have been emphasised by the Alliance of Civilizations. Spain considers that, in the field of education, it is essential to promote the development of improved practices at a national and local level. The creation of networks of education experts and of a “Guide for Good Practices in Education and Diversity for Social Integration” will boost the knowledge of practices that have proven to be useful in different countries to promote inclusion. It was also highlighted the women can contribute with regards to cultural diversity and conflict resolution from a perspective of tolerance. Reinforcing the role of the women is essential for the sustainable management of conflicts, reconciliation, peace and development.

For the Spanish Government, the “Sustainable Development Goals” are equally fundamental. The 2030 Agenda includes the promotion of peaceful, inclusive societies as one of its main principals, and inter-cultural dialogue is a dimension of development. In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the challenge of successfully building inclusive, diverse societies, in terms of culture, must be addressed. It is not possible to build long-lasting peace and security without sustainable, equitable development. The UNAOC’s Plural Plus programme, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration, promotes good practices in the integration of migrants through positive integration experiences.

It is essential to promote a culture of peace in the media and on the internet. The State Secretary highlighted the extensive work that the Alliance of Civilizations carries out in the fields of media literacy, preventing hate speech on the internet and the promotion of intercultural digital games and applications for young people such as the PEACEapp program.

Finally, he expressed his wish for the next Alliance of Civilizations forum, which will take place at the United Nations headquarters in November, to be an opportunity to decisively contribute to the UN’s prevention agenda through intercultural dialogue and projects and programmes from the UNAOC, addressing the root causes of conflicts.





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