UNGA 56th session
Agenda item: 25
“Dialogue among Civilizations”
STATEMENT BY MR. J.ENKHSAIKHAN
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MONGOLIA
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
At the outset I wish to join the preceding speakers in expressing our appreciation to the Secretary-General for the preparation of the report on the current agenda item “United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations”. Taking this opportunity I wish also to express our gratitude to the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran for this important initiative.
Indeed, it is timely that the General Assembly is considering this item today when the world is still in the state of shock from the 11 September terrorist attacks, which represented the worst of humanity, while the dialogue seeks to enable and promote the best of humanity. My delegation fully agrees with the Secretary-General who stated in his report that “A dialogue among civilizations is not only a necessary answer to terrorism – it is in many ways its nemesis. Where terrorism seeks to divide humanity, the dialogue aims to unite us; where terrorism is based on an exclusionary, belligerent view of the world, the dialogue seeks to promote inclusion and acceptance of the notion that the possession of truth does not belong to any one group alone. Where terrorism seeks to make our diversity the source of conflict, the dialogue can help make the same diversity the foundation for betterment and growth”.
The importance of our deliberations here today lies not only in the fact that the subject matter is an extremely important one, but also because its consideration in this august body represents in itself a form of dialogue among different civilizations. From these deliberations we can feel that dialogue and exchange of ideas can make a valuable contribution to an improved awareness and better understanding of our common heritage and shared values. It also reflects a determined will of Member States to come up with a new common approach based on common understandings. Therefore, the international community should continue to work towards promoting a norm of interaction and relations between nations based on dialogue, cooperation and mutual respect. This dialogue is essential if we are to be successful in achieving one of the main objectives of the United Nations, that is prevention of future conflicts.
In November 1998 the General Assembly adopted resolution 53/22 by which it proclaimed the current year as United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations. It is gratifying to note that the idea of a dialogue among civilizations has been well received and stimulated wide participation across the world. As it is indicated in the Secretary-General’s report, governmental and academic institutions, NGOs and international organizations have been actively involved in the Year’s activities, conducted series of important conferences, seminars and research works on this issue, bringing together a variety of civil society groups. We note with appreciation that UNESCO has been particularly instrumental in fostering their interest during this Year, and that dialogue among civilizations has been selected as its strategic objective in its Medium-Term Strategy for 2002-2007.
We have learned with great interest that the result of collective work, prepared by the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for the Year together with the Director-General of UNESCO and a group of Eminent Persons, entitled “Crossing the Divide: Dialogue among Civilizations” has been recently presented to the Secretary-General. It is our earnest hope that this book will be available soon to all Member States as we expect that it will contribute substantially to our renewed efforts at all levels towards encouraging and fostering dialogue among different civilizations in the years ahead.
As in many other countries, a series of events and activities has been launched in Mongolia to observe and support the UN Year of Dialogue among Civilizations. Among them I wish to single out the importance of the International Symposium on “Dialogue among Civilizations: Interaction between Nomadic and Other Cultures of Central Asia”, which was organized by the International Institute for the Study of Nomadic Civilizations in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on 15-16 August 2001. The Symposium, which was attended by over 120 scholars from different countries, has shed light on both historical and contemporary interactions between the cultures and civilizations involved. As the Director of UNESCO’s Division of Intercultural Dialogue, pointed out in his message to the participants of the Symposium “It is in this manner, through the discovery of a common heritage and shared values, that a positive convergence between cultures can be favoured”.
We live in a world that is both unique and diverse. In this world, active and mutually enriching dialogues and exchanges between civilizations are of great importance not only in exploring each other’s rich legacies, but also in forecasting the future. Over the past years, my country Mongolia, considered today to be the “locus classicus” of nomadic civilization, is making every effort to deepen further the studies on various aspects of the nomadic civilization, its influence and interaction with others. Thus, the ability of nomads to adapt to the nature and live in full harmony with it, pastoral nomadism, their different techniques and ways of protecting and using land in a sustained manner could be of particular interest and use in developing further actions to protect and preserve our common nature and the environment.
We are living in an age of what is known as “accelerating globalization”. Therefore, this should be one of the main topics of the ongoing dialogue among civilizations and cultures. While globalization increasingly affects all spheres of contemporary life, further efforts should be made to ensure more equal distribution of its benefits among different countries, as well as various groups within societies. Furthermore, as the Secretary-General states in his report, “It is also critical that globalization should not reflect the triumph or victory of one ideology, culture or economic system over another. Indeed, it is important that cultural diversity is preserved in the dynamic interaction among cultures in the process of globalization”. Globalization and increasing interdependence among nations compel us to search and shape a new vision of international relations that is based on the spirit of peace, mutual respect, dialogue and cooperation.
With these in view my delegation joined the co-sponsorship of the draft resolution submitted under this agenda item, which proclaims a Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilization. We are confident that its unanimous adoption by the General Assembly at this session will further enhance mutual understanding and solidarity among nations, and thus would become yet another occasion for Member States to underline their unity in the fight against intolerance, prejudice and violence.