Alliance of Civilizations: Group of Friends meeting: Statement by Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, New York, 10 March 2011
President Sampaio, High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
President Sampaio, thank you for organizing this important Group of Friends meeting and thank you for giving me the floor.
Finland fully supports the objectives of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions. Finland has actively participated in the Alliance’s forums and other events. President Tarja Halonen has attended AOC Summits in Madrid and Istanbul. Finland annually supports the Alliance, and our current funding covers youth solidarity actions in Africa.
The UNAOC Mediterranean Regional Strategy and action plan frame was approved in November 2010. Its importance and the urgency of its implementation are further highlighted by the recent developments in North Africa.
Finland welcomes the proposal to hold the Doha Civil Society Pre-Forum and the Focal Point meeting in early May. As the Pre-Forum is expected to contribute to the Doha Forum preparations and to the work of the Focal Points, we would like to propose to hold the Focal Point meeting after the Pre-Forum. It would allow Focal Points to attend the meeting and make use of its deliberations.
Finland also supports the initiative to establish a link between the MDG agenda and the Alliance’s goals regarding youth, education, media and migration at the Doha Forum in December. Moreover, we would like to see the active role of the Alliance in promoting the 2015 goals strengthened.
High Representative, President Jorge Sampaio has been invited to visit Finland this year by President Tarja Halonen. We hope that the timing of the visit could be agreed in the near future, to allow for the preparations of a national Alliance Day program during the visit.
Finland also associates herself with the views and remarks expressed here by the EU representative.