Spanish President in New York

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has travelled to New York to participate in the official presentation of the Alliance of Civilizations recommendations. UN General Secretary Kofi Annan presents the project to the United Nations General Assembly today.

The Alliance of Civilizations was proposed by Zapatero and co-sponsored by the Prime Minister of Turkey last year as a way of overcoming the cultural, regional and religious differences which can cause extremism, in the belief that all societies are interdependent, bound together in their development and security, and in their environmental, economic and financial well-being.

The Alliance seeks to forge collective political will and to mobilize concerted action at the institutional and civil society levels to overcome the prejudice, misperceptions and polarization that militate against such a consensus. And it hopes to contribute to a coalescing global movement which, reflecting the will of the vast majority of people, rejects extremism in any society and the idea was originally put forward to the UN Assembly by Rodriguez Zapatero last year.

Once approved by UN members, a committee of experts was given the task of designing an action plan. Their conclusions and recommendations will be put before the General Assembly members today and Zapatero will address the UN and express his gratitude to the committee members for the speed with which they have formulated the action plan.

During his visit, the Spanish PM will also sign a collaboration agreement with the United Nations Development Plan, pledging funds worth 528 million euros to development projects linked to the Milenium Objectives, making Spain the largest country doner to the UNDP.