Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The Forum’s second day focused on the role of youth in countering and preventing violent extremism.

Participants emphasized the importance of ensuring youth voices at the policy level to engage young people as “champions of change” and supported education and social inclusion as ways to fight terrorism.

The Second High Level Panel of the Heads of International Organizations and the Ministerial Panel aimed to elaborate a common roadmap for assisting organizations in building inclusive and sustainable societies.

3 May 2019: A global forum convened as part of the Baku Process examined the role of intercultural dialogue as an actionable strategy for helping countries counter discrimination and violence. SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) includes several targets focused on reducing all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere.

The Fifth World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 2-3 May 2019, on the theme, ‘Building dialogues into action against discrimination, inequality and violent conflict.’ It provided a platform for advancing concrete actions to support dialogue, mutual understanding and diversity as foundations for inclusive development and sustainable peace. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev organized the Forum in cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNOAC), the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Council of Europe and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (ISESCO).

The Forum devoted one of its two days to the role of youth in countering and preventing violent extremism. The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Miguel Angel Moratinos, who moderated the event, underscored the importance of youth engagement in global efforts to counter extremism and build sustainable peace. Nada Al-Nashif, UNESCO, observed that youth “have been excluded from decision-making processes and have had little opportunity for civic engagement,” and she said this exclusion is one of the reasons violent extremism persists. Sevil Alirzayeva, UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, said UNOCT prioritizes engaging and empowering youth in preventing and countering violent extremism, and called for the international community to stay united to “prevent and counter terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”

Participants emphasized the importance of ensuring youth voices at the policy level to engage young people as “champions of change.” Participants also supported: education and social inclusion as ways to fight terrorism; participation of youth in decision-making and processes for ensuring peace and security; engagement of youth as partners in building resilience and more inclusive societies; and establishment of youth movements after civil wars or conflicts, to turn youth into peacebuilders.

The Forum’s programme also included the Second High Level Panel of the Heads of International Organizations and the Ministerial Panel, aimed at elaborating a common roadmap for assisting organizations in building inclusive and sustainable societies. Panelists considered how to build synergies and partnerships among political, military, humanitarian, economic, financial and social organizations in ways that promote human dignity and intercultural dialogue.

The Baku Process, launched in 2008, works to create a “positive platform for an open and respectful exchange of views” between individuals and groups with different ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds, living on different continents, based on mutual understanding and respect. The UN Secretary-General’s 2017 report to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on intercultural and interreligious dialogue and culture of peace recognized the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue as a “key global platform for promoting intercultural dialogue.” [UN News Story on Closing] [UN News Story on Forum Youth Day] [UN News Story on UNOAC Statement] [Forum Website] [UNESCO Webpage on Forum]

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