New York

28 September 2018

Secretary-General's Message to UN Alliance of Civilizations Group of Friends Ministerial Meeting

[Delivered by Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations]

It is a pleasure to greet the Group of Friends of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.  You gather as a new session of the United Nations General Assembly is under way, and at a time when our world enjoys remarkable opportunities to advance common progress, with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as our blueprint.  The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, with its emphasis on building bridges, trust and understanding, has a crucial role to play in nurturing the productive cooperation among countries and peoples that is so essential in an era of growing global interconnectedness.
The Alliance’s mission is especially important in addressing racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred and other forms of intolerance, which are increasing in many places, feeding each other and fomenting extremism.  Minorities, migrants, refugees and other vulnerable communities face bias and abuse across the world. Discrimination against women remains pervasive.  And as I noted to world leaders in my address earlier this week, in this year in which we mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the human rights agenda is losing ground and universal values are being eroded.
I thank the Group of Friends for your commitment to address these complex challenges, promote a culture of peace and create opportunities for young people. Your efforts can also help people recognize that, as societies become more multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious, there is a need for greater investments in social cohesion.  Diversity is richness, not a threat.
I look forward to joining you in New York in November for the Alliance’s eighth Global Forum.  This will be an opportunity to advance our important work, and I encourage your active participation.  Thank you again for engagement and support.  Please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.