The General Assembly today adopted a resolution reaffirming that violent extremism “cannot and should not” be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group, and underlining the importance of moderation as a value within societies for fostering tolerance and understanding.
The resolution — titled United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (document A/69/L.76) — was among three adopted today, with others covering, respectively, the need to eradicate hunger (document A/69/L.50/Rev.1), and to strengthen United Nations cooperation with Portuguese-speaking countries (document A/69/L.78).
Through the text, introduced by the representative of Spain, the Assembly welcomed the collaboration between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and relevant bodies within the system to prevent extremism within their mandates. It supported the Alliance as an initiative of the Secretary-General with a voluntary trust fund that had no financial implications for the regular budget.
Reaffirming its political commitment to the Alliance’s four pillars — youth, education, media and migration — the Assembly looked forward to the 2016 seventh Global Forum in Azerbaijan, and supported the development of regional processes to increase cooperation on intercultural dialogue. In that context, it stressed the importance of implementing the Alliance’s goals through national plans for intercultural dialogue, led by Governments in collaboration with civil society.
Explaining his position after the adoption, the representative of Israel said that, while his Government had joined consensus in support of intercultural dialogue, it did not view the unified Arab strategy mentioned in the text as binding upon Israel.
The representative of Armenia, regarding the seventh Global Forum, expressed concern about discrimination and the incitement of hatred against Armenia, including at the highest level, by the host country’s leadership. That raised concerns about safety for potential Armenian participants and he urged the host country to guarantee their safety.
Several delegations also took the floor to make general statements, with the representative of Tunisia noting that her country had been among first to support the Alliance. She welcomed the exchange of experience and knowledge by young representatives of North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Europe and North America. Peace must be a strategic element of the post-2015 agenda and she agreed with comments by the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that peace required respect for peoples’ rights and diversity.
Emphasizing the Alliance’s role in advancing intercultural and inter-religious dialogue within the United Nations, the representative of Bangladesh said his country had pioneered the resolution on the culture of peace since 1999, which outlined that all violence emanated from a mindset of intolerance. He urged the creation of a “pro-people, pro-planet” world for all.
The representative of Azerbaijan reiterated that diversity was a source of peace. Her country offered space for religious tolerance, with multi-ethnic and multi-religious groups living “as one family”. Azerbaijan recently held the third World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, followed by the European Olympic Games. Azerbaijan welcomed the participation of all countries at the 2016 Global Forum.
Turkey’s representative was encouraged by the cross-regional nature of the resolution’s co-sponsors. The text clarified the institutional standing of the Alliance, which was of critical importance.
Rounding out the comments, the representative of the European Union encouraged the High Representative to have a continuous dialogue with the Alliance’s Group of Friends and focal points on strategic priorities. Acknowledging the work of UNESCO and the Secretariat in that area, he encouraged the Alliance to benefit from synergies and complementarity of all actors.
In other action, the Assembly adopted a resolution on “Follow-up to the second International Conference on Nutrition”, welcoming the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action, which outlined a set of voluntary policy options and strategies. By the text, introduced by the representative of South Africa, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, the Assembly invited Governments, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, and other stakeholders to implement the Framework to achieve better nutrition for all.
Finally, through its resolution on “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries”, introduced by the representative of Timor-Leste, the Assembly stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation between the Community and the United Nations agencies and other bodies. Among those entities, it named the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNESCO and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In that context, it welcomed the return of Guinea-Bissau to constitutional order, congratulating the people on holding peaceful, free and fair elections, and the democratically elected authorities for achievements made. It also welcomed the 18 November 2014 reactivation of the International Contact Group on Guinea-Bissau as a “prime example” of cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).