In order to turn global objectives and aspirations into local deliverables, the Alliance has two major political tools: National Plans and Regional Strategies for Intercultural Dialogue and Cooperation.

Both tools should be developed by taking into consideration international law, regional decisions and policies, and national legal frameworks outlining basic human, civil, economic, social and cultural rights upon which intercultural dialogue depends.

Furthermore building upon the achievements of already existing international, regional and local initiatives, Regional Strategies should establish and provide a viable and continuous framework for policy development in the main areas of concern. Regional Strategies aim at raising awareness for the necessity for increased cross-border co-operation and for jointly developed policy instruments that make partners successfully face common challenges.

This shared framework helps to shape an enabling environment for intercultural dialogue where a person is guaranteed safety and dignity, equal opportunities and participation, where different views can be voiced openly without fear, where there are shared spaces exchanges between individuals of different backgrounds - cultural, religious, scientific or artistic - and for people-to-people exchanges to take place. Moreover, it generates sources of good practice projects, inspires new initiatives, develops ambitious benchmarks and opens the way towards effective strategies and good practices for intercultural dialogue.

Regional Strategies are underpinned by a three-fold approach:

a. Breaking down walls: promote democratic citizenship and free circulation of ideas, encourage effective diversity management in legal, political and social terms, foster inter-ethnic and inter-religious respect and tolerance, fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, related intolerance and hate speech, ensure women’s rights and gender equality, all of them playing a significant role in building mutual trust among peoples and inclusive democratic societies in the region;

b. Building bridges: intensify people-to-people exchanges, develop intercultural skills through educational, artistic and media programs which can raise the awareness of the complexity of the identity issues and equip individuals with the necessary tools to fully and successfully engage in intercultural dialogue processes;

c. Sharing spaces: create spaces where ideas, experiences and beliefs can be exchanged in an environment of trust and respect, where effective conflict resolution can be experienced, and where interactive communication can freely flow.

Regional Strategies are focused on developing common and/or trans-national activities within a broader comprehensive framework potentially covering the four fields of action of the Alliance – education, youth, media and migration.

They are intended to generate a process of joint ownership and joint participation in the Alliance’s projects and to stimulate strengthened cooperation among countries sharing common challenges aimed to create new opportunities to “break down walls”, “build bridges” and create “shared spaces” in a specific region. Though independent from National Plans, Regional Strategies act as a stimulus for future National Plans and/or as their extension providing new opportunities for interaction, joint initiatives and for delivering results.

Regional Strategies, although driven by governments, rely upon a close cooperation with and between a wide array of stakeholders, namely: relevant international and regional organizations, which have a key role to play by sharing expertise, and make available the necessary resources in terms of knowledge, policy tools and financing; cities and local governments; civil society partners – NGOs, voluntary and civic organizations, foundations, local communities, churches and faith-based organizations - which are crucial in delivering results and catalysing action within countries that mobilize broad-based movements; the private sector which also plays an important role not only because it confronts challenges related to intercultural tensions but mainly because it can serve as a platform for exchanging experiences, disseminating good practices and thus be actively engaged in good governance of pluralism and diversity management.

Regional Strategies are built on the pre-existing work carried out by countries, international and regional organizations and by any other relevant players. They aim to give a regional footing to the AoC projects, expanding successful experiences, and providing new opportunities for innovative initiatives, upon a preliminary mapping out of common needs, expectations or requests.

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