Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Group of Friends Ministerial Meeting
22 September 2017
Azerbaijan attaches primary importance to the promotion of intercultural and interreligious dialogue at all levels. Multiculturalism and tolerance is a longstanding tradition in my country that strengthens and consolidates our society. For ages, people of different nationalities and religions have been living in peace and dignity in Azerbaijan. The year of 2016 has been declared a “Year of Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan” by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Consequently, a special Plan of Actions has been developed that implies measures to safeguard and disseminate the humanistic ideals of multiculturalism both at national and international levels.
As a country which believes that peace and security is achievable through education, science, culture and dialogue, in particular among youth, Azerbaijan has transformed into the hub of events fostering dialogue of cultures and civilizations such as the First Global Forum on Youth Policies in Baku on 28-30 October 2014, which was co-organized by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, UNDP, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. 700 participants of the forum had an opportunity to discuss the various aspects of youth policies of state and examine the ways and strategies on how to shape more adequate policies that will properly address the needs of youth in the post-2015 development era.
On 25-27 April 2016, Azerbaijan hosted the 7th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations entitled “Living together in inclusive societies”. This important event was attended by more than 4,000 delegates from 147 countries, including Heads of states and governments, ministers, government officials, representatives of international organizations and media. The Forum’s themes reflected the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which incorporates the promotion of inclusive societies as pivotal component for sustainable development. Taking this opportunity, I would like to sincerely thank all those who organized and participated in that Forum.
A major outcome of the Forum was the Baku Declaration. It strongly condemned any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence and urged all Member States to unite against violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations.
The Baku Declaration should serve as guidelines for states and international organizations in promotion of intercultural dialogue and multiculturalism as a way to counter violence, extremism and xenophobia. Recognizing the special role of youth in the establishment and development of inclusive societies, the UN Alliance of Civilizations Youth Event was also held on the sidelines of the Forum with the participation of more than 150 youngsters.
Besides, this year we hosted IV World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue which included panels on a wide range of global issues in the interest of all humanity with the participation of renowned guests, among which were heads of governments, ministers, and heads of various international organizations. One of the main sessions of the event was devoted to “Empowering youth to prevent violent extremism through education”.