The 2nd National Plan continues with the projects and strategies aimed at favouring mutual knowledge and respect for cultural diversity and promoting understanding of civic values and of a culture of peace. Its purpose is to develop the specific goals pursued by the initiative, integrating them into the array of sector-wide public policies and into the aims of the public and private institutions linked to this 2nd Plan.
In September 2004, the Spanish Prime Minister, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, launched the Alliance of Civilisations initiative. In 2005, the UN Secretary-General endorsed the Plan as a UN project. The Plan is now fully consolidated, and the number of international organisations that have joined the Group of Friends of this Alliance - nearly 130 to date - bear witness to the success of the initiative.
The Alliance of Civilisations is a political initiative aimed at reinforcing mutual understanding, countering the influence of those that promote intolerance and conflict and fostering social cohesion, promoting security and cooperation as essential for international stability and human development.
The High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisation, Dr. Jorge Sampaio, proposed that Member States of the Group of Friends should approve Strategies or National Plans Spain led this exercise with the enactment of the 1st National Plan for the Alliance of Civilisations for 2008-2010, which has now become the model for the development of other national plans.
The Plan contained 57 actions grouped into four different areas and aimed at:
- Fostering mutual knowledge and an appreciation of diversity;
- Promoting civic values and a culture of peace;
- Improving the integration and skill-building of immigrants, paying special attention to young people;
- Promoting and disseminating the Alliance of Civilisations initiative.
Some of the most significant actions proposed include immigrant integration policies, fostering youth associations, promoting culture, respect for religious pluralism and diversity management.
Spheres of activity
The 2nd National Plan will be implemented in the following Alliance of Civilisations priority spheres: education, youth, migration and the media, making gender equality a feature of each of these.
- In the educational system it will foster cooperation, peaceful coexistence, mobility and teacher and student exchange programmes.
- Within the framework of the National R&D&i Plan, it will promote scientific, technological and innovation projects and activities linked to the Alliance of Civilisations.
- It will promote knowledge of cultural diversity, of traditions, art and expression, and facilitate the involvement of cultural industries.
- It will aim to guarantee freedom of religion or belief and peaceful coexistence of people of different faiths.
- It will foster projects and actions aimed at promoting better mutual understanding between young people and links between different cultures and traditions, in order to enhance respect for human rights and cultural diversity. It will support youth associations and their social participation, and foster programmes that empower and promote equal opportunities for young men and women.
- It will work within the framework of the Strategic Plan for Citizenship and Integration and the Support Fund for the Reception and Integration of Immigrants to combat racism and xenophobia, and particularly to prevent racial or ethnic discrimination and violence.
- It will promote the responsible use of the media, highlighting its role in preventing conflicts and the peaceful resolution of such conflicts, and also as active agents for education and dissemination of positive and enriching values, expanding spaces that foster intercultural understanding and religious pluralism.
One of the most important new strategies in this Plan is the inclusion of goals and projects put forward by cultural institutions and public diplomacy organisations, such as Casa África, Casa América, Casa Árabe, Casa Asia, Casa Mediterráneo, Casa Sefarad-Israel, or the Real Instituto Elcano, the Instituto Cervantes, the European Institute of the Mediterranean, the Carolina Foundation, the Foundation for Pluralism and Coexistence, the Tres Culturas Foundation, the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies and the Menéndez Pelayo International University.