UNAOC Forum’s ministerial meeting ends with adoption of Fez Declaration – The North Africa Post

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Tuesday evening saw the end of the ministerial meeting as part of the 9th Global Forum of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. The Fez Declaration was adopted. It stated that the UNAOC had achieved its main objective, primarily standing as a truly international undertaking with universal goals seeking to raise awareness on the urgent need to promote responsible leaders in all areas of action.

The Fez Declaration recognized “the important contribution to the debates, here in Fez, by youth, particularly African youth”, while welcoming their commitment to lead by the example through involvement in UNAOC activities related to education, media and migration.

The document called for “the full implementation of the announcements and commitments agreed upon in Fez Forum, so that Governments, with the support of the civil society, can overcome challenges and move forward towards the goals of living together in peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.”

Also, the Declaration welcomed the convening of the 9th UNAOC Global Forum, for the first time on the African continent, and particularly in the heart of the historical city of Fez, “a land of ancestral character and deep-rooted spiritualism,” and praised the host country, under the farsighted leadership of King Mohammed VI, “a fervent advocate of values of peace and coexistence nationally and worldwide, for its full engagement and dedication to make the Fez Forum a fruitful space for promoting human interaction and fostering dialogue and peace”.

The Fez Declaration welcomed Equatorial Guinea’s offer to host the African regional meeting of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in 2023, as well as Portugal’s offer to host in Lisbon the 10th UNOAC Global Forum in 2024.

The participants in the forum also stressed that “freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression are interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing,” while emphasizing the role that these rights can play in the fight against all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief.

The members of the Alliance also recognized that “respect for the cultural diversity and cultural rights in accordance with international standards enhances cultural pluralism, contributing thus to a wider exchange of knowledge and understanding of cultural background, advancing the enforcement and enjoyment of human rights throughout the world, and fostering stable, friendly relations among peoples and nations worldwide.”

While expressing “deep concern” about the use of new information technologies, such as the Internet and social media, for purposes contrary to respect for human values, the participants recognize that information and communication technologies are fundamentally altering the way individuals and communities interact, consume and spend their time, with new and unforeseen health and social consequences. While many of these outcomes are positive, others raise concerns.

The Fez Declaration, in this context, condemned hatred that encourages discrimination, hostility, or violence. This includes the use of audio-visual, electronic, or print media.

The document emphasized the need to create and implement policies, action programs, and strategies to promote media literacy and information literacy. It also highlighted the need to increase awareness and capacity for preventing, monitoring, and countering misinformation and hate speech.

The Declaration also reiterated political commitment to five pillars of UN Alliance of Civilizations activity, mainly youth, education and migration. It acknowledged the efforts in these areas and emphasized the constructive role of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in promoting conflict prevention, mediation, and reconciliation.

Participants encouraged the Alliance to continue its work with a variety of projects in collaboration with governments and international organizations as well as civil society groups and media.

The Fez Declaration acknowledged UNAOC’s important role as an intercultural and interreligious platform and as a space for cooperation, solidarity, and human fraternity.

The UNAOC was asked to continue to strengthen its engagement with religious leaders to provide them with opportunities for interfaith dialog to promote tolerance, mutual respect, understanding, and rejection of violence.

Source: north africa post

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