Following are UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ remarks to the Group of Friends of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, in New York today:
I am very pleased to be with you today and to thank you for your commitment to the success of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
In these troubled times, the Alliance is a unique and inclusive platform for Member States, the private sector, youth, civil society and the media to exchange views and commit to dialogue and new partnerships. It is closely aligned with my own priorities and the vision that I have outlined in my prevention agenda.
Over the past six years, the Alliance has been ably led Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al‑Nasser. He has guided the work of the Alliance during a period of unprecedented challenges to peace and security. He has increased the membership of this Group of Friends and led the development and expansion of the Alliance’s programming. He has broadened partnerships and the Alliance’s engagement with the United Nations system, and worked to raise the Alliance’s visibility. I thank you very much for your commitment to the Alliance and to the United Nations work as a whole.
As you know, Mr. Al‑Nasser’s tenure concludes at the end of this year. So, today, I would like to introduce and welcome his successor, Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos of Spain, as the new High Representative for the Alliance effective first of January 2019. Mr. Moratinos brings rich experience as the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, not to mention many other very distinguished services he has given to the international community. He can count on my support — and, I hope, on your support.
This Group of Friends has indeed a critical role to play. None of the Alliance’s progress would have been possible without the political leadership and financial contributions of the members of the Group of Friends, and in particular the founding co‑sponsors Spain and Turkey. I want once again, to express my deep appreciation for the initiative that Spain and Turkey took years ago, and for the firm commitment that those countries took, making sure that this initiative gets very strong support from Member States. I thank you all for your consistent support for the Alliance.
However, the financial sustainability and viability of the initiative remain fragile. The Alliance serves the best interests of us all, and I hope that replenishing the Alliance’s Voluntary Trust Fund is addressed in your meeting today.
I would like to conclude by reaffirming my full support for the work of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and to encourage you to continue to strengthen this important initiative of our Organization.