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Statement by H.E. Mr. Erlan Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations (27 September 2013, New York)

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

Kazakhstan attaches the great importance to the dedicated work of the Alliance of Civilizations in the global processes to enhance the inter-civilization synergy and considers it extremely crucial as a deliberation platform for advancing peace and accord.
Today, at the age of speed globalization, the Plan of Action of the Alliance is a one of the most important elements in building harmony interrelations between Islamic and Western societies.
The activities in the areas of policy, economy, culture at the level of governments and civil society must be coordinated and agreed. Thus, the role of the Alliance is undeniable.
Respect of human rights, gender equality, advocating pluralism, contraction against all kinds of xenophobia, racial discrimination and intolerance must remain priorities of our common efforts. Educational, media, interethnic and interreligious elements are also important aspects of the development of dialogue.
Young generation, who brought up in the spirit of respect for the civilized and cultural diversity, at the age of the developing informational-communicational technologies, will become a firm ground for further strengthening cooperation between peoples and states, between religions and philosophies.
In light of frequent conflicts on religious basis in a plenty of countries, component of religion is deemed particularly crucial. The problem of religious extremism, use of religion for conflict incitement, for social and national strife still remains critical as well. For the purposes of its minimization, major joint efforts towards strengthening the inter-religious dialogue must be taken.
Since 2003, Kazakhstan has been holding the Congress of leaders of the world traditional religions, which is a concrete contribution since it is a real mechanism of up-holding the global and regional security. The 4th regular Congress was convened in Kazakhstan last May and we are grateful to Secretariat of the Alliance of Civilizations for their close cooperation with the Secretariat of the Congress in order to fruitfully conduct the event.
The 4th Congress resulted in creation of a Council of religious leaders which is called on to become an additional mechanism to ensure, in cooperation with the Alliance, measures for promoting international peace, dialogue and prosperity.
Close cooperation between the Alliance of Civilizations and global, regional partners, including UNESCO, OIC, OSCE is crucial.
We support the Alliance in its activities focused on sharing opinions and best practices between the stakeholders from governments, civil society, regional organizations.
For the efficient fulfillment of the aims and tasks set before the Alliance, more active engagement of the civil societies of our countries, different non-governmental organizations, as well as academia is critical.
It is important to invite youth organizations for cooperation in the spheres of culture and education, for participation in the international events holding in the bilateral and multilateral formats, such as festivals, contests, sport events.
To enhance our peoples awareness of the Alliances activities, as well as to popularize its ideas and to extend its audience, a firm support of media to highlight the work of the Alliance, particularly utilizing the recourses of huge international media and national informational holdings is pivotal.
At the international platforms, Kazakhstan always put forward strengthening tolerance and non-discrimination as the main priorities. Since the presidency of Kazakhstan to the OIC Council of Ministers, we have been undertaking the tireless efforts ensuring a dialogue between cultures and religions, strengthening tolerance and supporting member-states in the struggle against all forms of discrimination and intolerance.
During the past 67 session of the UN General Assembly, by the initiative of Kazakhstan, the resolution on announcement of 2013-2022 the International decade of rapprochement of cultures, was unanimously adopted. We are confident that this idea, on the long-term basis, will promote the realization of the measures to ensure an inter-civilization, inter-cultural, inter-religious dialogue. Having said so, we express our deepest gratitude to H.E. Mr. Al-Nasser, High Representative, for his valuable participation in the inauguration event in Astana on occasion of launching the Decade.
Kazakhstan will further actively advance the realization of the aims and priorities of the Alliance of Civilizations at the global, regional and national level
Thanks for attention.