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CM(2008)76 30 April 20081
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118th Session of the Committee of Ministers
(Strasbourg, 7 May 2008) –

Draft Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the Alliance of Civilizations

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Preamble

The Alliance of Civilizations and the Council of Europe,

1. Recalling the values of pluralist democracy, the rule of law and human rights for the development of all societies;

2. Recognising that cultural diversity is an essential characteristic of every society and a potential factor for economic and social development;

3. Reasserting the need to build bridges between cultures and societies through dialogue and co-operation as well as for political will and a collective commitment to live together by strengthening mutual respect, tolerance and understanding among people of different ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural background;

4. Convinced of the need for intercultural dialogue to be based on the principles of the indivisibility and universality of human rights and on observance of the human rights standards of the United Nations and the Council of Europe;

5. Affirming the role of the Council of Europe as the benchmark for human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Europe, and acknowledging the close co-operation between the member states of the Council of Europe in promoting intercultural dialogue based on these common values and principles;

6. Renewing their commitment to these common values and principles which are rooted in Europe’s cultural, religious and humanistic heritage – a heritage both shared and rich in its diversity;

7. Bearing in mind the principles of intercultural dialogue as established for the Alliance of Civilizations by the High Level Group's report of 13 November 2006, and as laid down in the Council of Europe White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue "Living Together as Equals in Dignity";

8. Wishing to support the ratification and implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions;

9. Recognising the role of the Council of Europe as a member of the “Group of Friends” of the Alliance of Civilizations;

10. Having regard to their respective competences, specific characteristics and programmes of activities, and building on their existing good relations;

11. Wishing to intensify co-operation and mutually benefit from each other’s experience concerning matters of joint interest;

Have agreed as follows:

Objectives and Principles of co-operation in intercultural dialogue

12. The Alliance of Civilizations and the Council of Europe (hereinafter referred to together as “the Parties”) will enhance their co-operation in the field of intercultural dialogue in all areas of joint interest in order to achieve complementarity and avoid overlapping.

13. On the basis of partnership and complementarity, taking due account of their comparative advantages and expertise, the Parties will take all necessary steps to further their co-operation through exchange of information concerning their respective activities and through the development of joint action as set out below.

14. The cooperation will aim for added value and make the best possible use of existing resources. Measures implementing this Memorandum of Understanding will be subject to the application of the Parties’ respective rules and policies and also subject to the availability of the appropriate financial and other resources.

Priority areas of co-operation in intercultural dialogue

15. The Parties will ensure that their co-operation will further their aims and objectives, notably the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; the fight against all forms of discrimination on any ground; the equal dignity of every human being and gender equality; inclusive and cohesive societies; the democratic governance of cultural diversity; intercultural dialogue, including its religious dimension, as well as intercultural exchange ; and the strengthening of democratic citizenship and participation and the promotion of civil society.

16. The Parties are committed to developing joint activities in fields of common interest wherever appropriate and feasible. Priority areas of co-operation between the Parties cover:

Human rights, democracy and rule of law: The Parties will explore possibilities for joint action aimed at strengthening human rights, democracy and rule of law, including the values underpinning intercultural dialogue.

Education: The Parties will co-operate in such areas as education for democratic citizenship, human rights, tolerance, mutual respect, intercultural awareness and global education. They are committed to initiate and support educational programmes which are inspired by the principles of equal rights, inclusiveness, fairness and multiperspectivity, and which foster cultural sensitivity and critical thinking. Within their areas of competence, the Parties will promote interaction among educational institutions, educational staff and students in Europe and its neighbouring regions. The European Resource Centre on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Intercultural Education in Oslo will play a role in this context.

Youth: The Parties will develop their co-operation through joint priority areas of action designed to promote increased youth participation in intercultural dialogue and decision-making processes and aimed at giving all young people the means to play an active role in political and social life without discrimination. They will foster non-formal education and training opportunities for youth workers in human rights and intercultural dialogue, and will facilitate youth exchanges as well as promote long-term bridge building activities between diverse cultural and religious groups. The Parties will promote the development of youth policies with a particular emphasis on intercultural dialogue by encouraging co-operation between policy-makers, researchers, young people and youth workers.

Culture: The Parties will investigate the possibility of co-operation in cultural, audiovisual and heritage policies, including the exchange of information on good practice and policy strategies at local level as well as the joint development of existing tools for information and co-operation.

Media: The Parties will seek to co-operate in the promotion and defence of freedom of expression and information and freedom of the media. They will explore the possibilities of promoting the access of all persons to media and new information and communication services. They will explore co-operation in the area of media literacy development and journalists training programmes in intercultural issues. They will seek to foster the awareness of media professionals of the need for intercultural dialogue, mutual respect, tolerance and co-operation across ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic boundaries.

Migration and social cohesion: The Parties will co-operate in the field of social cohesion on the basis inter alia of the Revised Social Charter of the Council of Europe and the relevant instruments of the United Nations. They will particularly promote the social and cultural inclusion of migrants and vulnerable and minority groups in society, the fight against discrimination, and measures aiming at strengthened democratic citizenship and participation.

17. Other areas of co-operation may be determined by mutual agreement.

Co-operation arrangements

18. The Parties will designate "focal points" within their secretariats to be responsible for permanent contacts between them. Ad hoc contacts at a political level may be organised on topical issues of joint interest.

19. The “North-South Centre” (Lisbon), given its position as a bridge between the Council of Europe and neighbouring regions, is expected to play a specific role in the implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding.

20. The Alliance of Civilizations will consider participating in the “Faro Open Platform of inter-institutional cooperation for intercultural dialogue”.

21. This Memorandum of Understanding will cover a period of three years at the end of which the Parties will evaluate its implementation and, based on this evaluation, will agree in writing on its renewal and upon modifications as necessary.

Visibility

22. The Parties will take measures to enhance the visibility of their co-operation and joint activities to the general public. The Parties mutually will support each other in their relations with the media and with regard to web contents.

Done in two copies (French and English), on [...]

For the Council of Europe For the Alliance of Civilizations

______________________ _________________________

Terry Davis Jorge Sampaio
Secretary General United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. It will be declassified at the 118th Session of the Committee of Ministers (7 May 2008).


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