Open Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations held at UN

UNAOCH. E. Mr. Nassir Abdul-Aziz Al-Nasser opened the UNAOC Annual Ministerial Meeting and elucidated that currently, we are facing some level of tension in every region of the world and world leaders have expressed their concerns on these important worries. Further, he said that the present state of global harmony is worrisome and current conflicts have cultural, religious or ethnic dimensions. The conflicts in Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe all have features of identity based divisions and the alliance is mindful of the disturbing facts. Moreover, he spoke of UNAOC’s 6th Global Forum in Bali which was themed: Unity in Diversity.

At Bali, the UNAOC involved stakeholders such as, youth, civil society, religious leaders and politicians in an interactive dialogue that is urgent in the present-day geopolitical atmosphere. Most importantly, they advocated for the empowerment of young people to help solve some of the ongoing situation around the world because we will eventually inherent the problems the world is currently facing. Co-sponsors of the UNAOC, the Governments of Spain and Turkey, were represented by their Foreign Ministers as they echoed each other’s statements. They both spoke of the UNAOC’s mission and vision as a guide for all to follow.

Next, the Foreign Minister of Tunisia denounced the recent activities by the militant group in Algeria who are linked to ISIS. Following his statement, the Foreign Ministers of Algeria explain that 9/11 was an attack on human civilization. He then said that Algeria has suffered immensely from terrorism and the global community should stand together against the barbarism. Statements were made by numerous Foreign Ministers and the Deputy Secretary-General H.E. Jan Eliasson wherein they agreed on working together to defuse tensions while involving religious leaders, grassroots organizations, youth and women leaders. Near the end, the
Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan offered the capital city of his country, Baku, as the host of the 7th Global Forum in 2016. The membership of the Group of Friends endorsed the offer by consensus.

Meeting Title: Open Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations (at the ministerial level) (organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC))
Date: September 26th, 2014
Location: Conference Room 3, United Nations HQ, New York
Speakers: The United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations chairs the meeting, welcomes participants and delivers opening remarks under the theme “New and Emerging Ideological Threats to Global Peace & Co-Existence”; Remarks by the President of 69th Session of the General Assembly (tbc); Remarks by the co-sponsors (Spain and Turkey); Remarks by the Executive Director of the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate; Remarks by the Director of the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force; Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, Bulgaria, Mangolia, Finland, Netherland, Lithuania, Spain, Algeria, Finland, Netherlands, Lithuania, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Bahrain.
Written By WIT Representative: Modou Cham
Edited by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

A Commitment to Sustainability

United Nations, New York Headquarters. 8 January 2014

coal_fired_power_plantThe keynote speaker, Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, opened the discussion with a presentation on the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) and their inadequate support for sustainable development. He said that people need to feel personal ownership of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) for them to be effective. He also recommended a stand-alone SDG on resource efficiency for a more thorough effort at making sustainable development possible and economical. He urged delegates to consider a raise in yearly resource allocation proportionate to the increase in efficiency, the revenues from which would go towards further improving the efficiency. Developing countries will be able to become cleaner faster than developed ones, explained Dr. Weizsäcker. He went on to describe how locked in developed countries are to wasteful infrastructure, and the ways developing countries can use todays knowledge to grow with green technology.   

The floor was opened for questions, and the representatives of Guatemala, Italy, Mexico and Pakistan asked Dr. von Weizsäcker to elaborate on the indicators that would be used to measure resource efficiency. Italy inquired as to how to proceed on the issue of resource consumption, seeing as developing countries produce, and developed countries consume. Dr. von Weizsäcker said that an indicator of resource efficiency would be the rate of consumption of the resource. He said that there would need to be a system of exchanging emissions credits, in which developing nations, who would implement clean infrastructure and therefore be producing less than their credit allows,  sell to the developed nations, who would be much slower at implementing clean infrastructure. This would promote sustainable development on both sides, as the developing nations attempt to sell more of their credit, and developed nations strive to save money on credits by developing their own clean infrastructure. He concluded by saying that using intelligent economic instruments in both production and consumption of resources will encourage nations to maximize resource efficiency and sustainable resource consumption.


The floor was then opened for general discussion of the SDGs, and Fiji began with a statement from the G77+China. Asking the leaders and officials in the room to adopt Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) for the next generation, G77+China also called for a time bound framework to get nations to SCP. The representatives of Barbados, Colombia and Chile both called for developed countries to take the lead in assisting developing countries to better handle chemicals and waste, “Chemicals are not things in a lab, they are things that we are living with in this world. It needs to be an issue.” The representatives of the EU and Sweden called for the reduction not only of industrial waste, but also food waste, especially post-harvest. Currently, post-harvest waste can reach up to 50% in some areas. The representatives from the UK and Croatia said that efficient use of natural resources is critical for expanding economic and social choices, and promoting social justice. Finally, the representatives of Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Denmark,and Bangladesh said that achieving the SCP will require not only a change in infrastructure but also a change in lifestyle, and for that, the public must be committed to becoming sustainable.

Meeting Title: Follow-Up to the Outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Relating to a Proposal for Sustainable Development Goals

Key Speakers: Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Co-Chair, International Resource Panel; Representatives of Guatemala, Fiji (on behalf of the G77+China), Barbados, Colombia, Chile, EU, Sweden, United Kingdom, Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Denmark, Bangladesh

Written by WIT Intern: Jacob Roth