Bourita urged the global community to prioritize “solidarity, tolerance, peace, and dialogue” as the world recovers from the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita reiterated on Tuesday the country’s commitment to peace, multilateralism, and diversity during the annual meeting of the Group of Friends of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).
Speaking via videoconference, the official stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has “brutally reminded” the world of its shared destiny, trumping all socially-constructed divisions.
The UNAOC “is more relevant than ever” because it “does not define itself in opposition to a common enemy, but rather in favor of a shared ideal,” Bourita emphasized.
“[The alliance] does not pit us against each other, but brings us together. This is exactly what we need in the current context,” he underlined.
Morocco is a founding member of the UNAOC, an initiative that seeks to inspire international action against extremism by forging international, intercultural, and interreligious dialogue and cooperation.
The Moroccan foreign minister emphasized that since the alliance’s establishment in 2005, Morocco has always adhered to its values and principles.
The country’s commitment to the UNAOC lies in Morocco’s diversity, Bourita explained.
“Here in Morocco, diversity is an identity for the nation, coexistence a way of life,” he said. “The values of openness, moderation, tolerance, and mutual respect between all cultures and civilizations are not a simple slogan, but a principle enshrined in the constitution.”
Further illustrating the country’s attachment to the spirit of the UNAOC, Morocco decided to organize the 9th edition of the alliance’s World Forum in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the forum, but this has “neither endangered the project nor undermined our commitment,” Bourita assured.
“It will be an unprecedented event,” the Moroccan foreign minister said with excitement. “For the first time in the history of the organization, the World Forum will be held on the African continent, on Moroccan soil.”
The challenge of a post-pandemic world
Bourita is optimistic that the world will eventually overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Recovering from the crisis, however, will not come without challenges.
The Moroccan foreign minister stressed the need “to build inclusive and cohesive societies, where mutual knowledge is not only structured between societies, but also within them.”
Moving forward, the global community must choose “solidarity, tolerance, peace, and dialogue.”
“Only then can we transform multilateralism from the realm of discourse to that of people-centered and results-oriented action,” he stressed. “And that is precisely what our alliance is aiming for.”
The Group of Friends of the UNAOC met on the sidelines of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly under the theme, “Shaping a better world: building cohesive and inclusive societies in the difficult environment of COVID-19.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, and UNAOC High Representative Miguel Angel Moratinos participated in the meeting.
The annual meeting allows UNAOC member states to celebrate the achievements of the international body and present new activities and initiatives, particularly in the areas of conflict prevention and mediation.