Mr. Nasser stated that radicalization, extremism, and terrorism continue to grow around the world, as they are driven by cultural and religious differences. UNAOC and OCHA are working together to ensure humanitarian action for natural and man-made disasters despite ethnic, political, or religious motives. Mr. Nasser expressed his support for the first World Humanitarian Summit, which will take place in Istanbul in May of 2016. The summit is placed in a symbolic location in hopes of promoting solutions for the world’s complex challenges. Ms. Amos noted that OCHA’s work is not politically motivated. By using “soft power,” OCHA aims to protect civilians, build confidence through communities, and facilitate humanitarian aid. She emphasized that political action, and not just humanitarian work, is needed to address underlying sources of conflict. Ms. Amos reflected upon how states turn to the UN for aid when the state itself is in a situation of conflict. In South Sudan, looking at two out of hundreds of attacks, at least 300 civilians were killed based on their ethnicity or nationality.
Ultimately, she expressed her support for the Alliance of Civilizations and dialogue across borders. All representatives that spoke during this meeting supported the Alliance of Civilizations and the belief that, with unity, the draft resolution can be adopted shortly. The Ambassador of Spain proposed three initiatives in an attempt to aid peacekeeping, which included having platforms for peaceful coexistence in areas like Syria, Israel, and Iraq. The Representatives of Turkey, Portugal, and the Republic of Korea, along with UNESCO, stated that education is crucial for preventing intolerance. The Representatives of the European Union, Italy, and Kazakhstan addressed the importance of private sectors and faith-based organizations that have an impact with regard to linking cultures and religions. At the end of the meeting, the Partnership Agreement was signed.
Meeting: Open meeting of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations (at the ambassadorial level) (organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC))
Date & Location: Wednesday, February 18th, 2015. Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
Speakers: H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al- Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC); H.E. Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary- General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA); Mr. Ramon Oyarzun, Ambassador of Spain; Mr. Yasar Halit Cevik, Ambassador of Spain; Representative of Hungary; Representative of the European Union; Representative of Qatar; Representative of Azerbaijan; Representative of Portugal; Representative of Brazil; Representative of Benin; Representative of Kazakhstan; Representative of Iran; Representative of Palestine; Representative from UNESCO; Representative of Fao; Representative of Italy; Representative of Mexico; Representative of the Republic of Korea; Representative of Malaysia.
Written by WIT Representative: Paige Stokols
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey