Inclusion, equality a must for ‘long-lasting peace and sustainable development’, UN official tells high-level event in Baku

Photo: Ministry of Tourism and CultureAzerbaijan Night time view of Baku, Azerbaijan.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Exclusion and deep inequality will forever thwart “long-lasting peace and sustainable development”, a high-level official from the United Nations cultural agency said on Thursday at the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue.

If societies are not inclusive, they will be weaker, less resilient and more vulnerable to violence”, Nada Al-Nashif, Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), told the High-level Panel at the UN-backed conference in Baku, Azerbaijan.

She underscored the need to not only fight against social, economic and political inequalities, but also to change mindsets, which aligns perfectly with UNESCO’s mandate “to build the defenses of peace in the minds of men and women”.

While the agency’s mission “has not aged a day”, she acknowledged that “we have to follow a fast-changing world”.

According to Ms. Al-Nashif, this puts in question the relevance of old institutions to tackle current challenges, such as violent extremism, the migrant and refugee crisis, and the rise of hate speech in social media.

Citing events “from Sri Lanka to Libya, and in many spots in-between”, she said that the UN will be strengthening the role of diplomacy and dialogue.

“This calls for revitalized partnerships – from Member States to the private sector, from universities to civil society – so that we can work together to build innovative projects for inclusion, to scale our impact on the ground”, she asserted.

A new focus must be concentrated on building resilience, preventing conflict, learning lessons and empowering individuals with new skills that pay “particular attention and support” to young people.

“In a world where ignorance of ‘the other’ is on the rise, we must more than ever find new ways to empower young women and men as change-makers in their communities, providing them with the necessary skills and intercultural competences to become engaged global citizens, who promote peace in their everyday life”, she underscored.

According to Ms. Al-Nashif, a UNESCO priority is to promote girls’ education, because “access to and the quality of educational opportunities for girls remain major issues”, constraining their transformative power to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.

“The Baku Forum is an outstanding opportunity to reaffirm the principles and practices of inclusive dialogue for more effective and more impactful multilateralism”, she concluded.

A passion for tourism

“Tourism is my passion”, said Manuel Butler Halter, Executive Director of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), it is “a matter of the heart”.

“I believe that tourism is a facilitator of intercultural understanding and peace” because it makes people more open-minded, he said, adding that meeting people from diverse backgrounds and different cultures “helps us to see ourselves from a different perspective”.

It also fosters trust because “we realize that despite the cultural difference, all humans really are the same”, he continued.

Finally, the UNWTO official credited tourism for making us “more creative because learning about other cultures forces us to think differently and consider new ideas”.

And so, Mr. Halter deduced that “the more people travel, the more inclusive our societies become”.

He did, however, acknowledge that uncoordinated tourism can harm the environment, which is why UNWTO promotes sustainable tourism, in line with the SDGs.

Because “tourism by its nature”, has links with many fields, from trade and social development to environmental protection, security and health, Mr. Halter expressed certainty that it could “directly or indirectly contribute to all of the 17 SDGs”.

Highlighting SDG 8, on decent work and economic growth, he said that globally, one-in-10 jobs is connected to the tourism industry. With tourism also accounting for more than 40 per cent of half of the poorest countries’ GDPs, he stressed “I think it is key to include locals in the value chain”.

Economy, youth and exclusion

Evinj Hasanova, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Minister of Economy, spoke about how the young nation has reduced poverty from almost 42 per cent to five per cent.

“This is less than in some developed countries with more economic resources and GDP per capital”, she told the panel.

Inspired by the comprehensiveness of SDGs, she spoke at length on how her government has nationalized the goals, including by creating a high-level Council to coordinate their implementation.

“And we have started the process with the UN residential office,” she said.

For his part, Aaron Greenberg, Senior Regional Advisor for Europe and Central Asia, Child Protection at the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), underscored the importance of investing in early childhood development.

Noting that the investment does not have to be in monetary terms, Mr. Greenberg stressed that children must be raised in a way that prevents them from suffering psychological disorders later in life that would perpetuate a cycle of violence and poverty

“I do not believe there is any other way that is surefire than investing in younger children today for getting equitable outcomes in the future”, he stressed.

Meanwhile George Bouma, Head of Sustainable Development in the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Istanbul Regional Hub, spoke about underlying causes of inequalities that are creating “a crisis of opportunities”.

He painted a picture of exclusion and mounting inequality fueled by an increase in populism and flawed political systems globally, attributing rising disenfranchisement to political, economic and social factors.

“The private sector has a role to play in creating jobs and moving people from the social welfare system to more productive employment”, he said.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Why flexible workspaces are the key to winning the talent war

“France will be there, it will always be there!”, French President Hollande says in a rather disorganised speech; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Getting people with disabilities into work requires data

Business management: how can you introduce new ideas?

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

The new Kiev rulers ask $35 billion from the West

Coding in Namibia: UN supports young women’s computing career dreams

Healthcare’s a human right, not ‘a privilege for the rich’ UNAIDS argues at Davos

Why precision medicine is the future of healthcare

Medical students: catalysts to close the gender gap

New book honours UN women who made HERstory

Cameroon: Clear ‘window of opportunity’ to solve crises rooted in violence – Bachelet

Around 52 million in Near East, North Africa, suffering chronic undernourishment, new UN food agency report reveals

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: The health of capitalism won’t be the only worry for those who head for Davos

Mergers: Commission approves Varta AG’s acquisition of Energizer’s divestment business, subject to conditions

Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

Negotiated two-State solution still ‘the only option’ for Palestine: Guterres

Air pollution: How to end the deaths of 7 million people per year

4 ways blockchain will transform the mining and metals industry

Pollution could be harming every part of your body. Here’s how

UN human rights ruling could boost climate change asylum claims

A Sting Exclusive: “The competitiveness of Europe depends on a digital single market”, EPP President Joseph Daul highlights live from European Business Summit 2015

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Transat by Air Canada

MEPs want ambitious funding for cross-border projects to connect people

WHO chief underscores need to address climate change following visit to Bahamas

Humanitarian aid: €7 million for disaster preparedness in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

2018 Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Maria Ressa of the Philippines

Who is first (and last) in the race to build a workforce fit for the future?

We won’t win the online security war without people power

4 ways the circular economy can help heavy industry reduce emissions

EU prepares a banking union amidst financial ruins

A ‘strong and united Europe’ has never been more needed, declares UN chief Guterres

Here are five ways we can make mental healthcare better

Guterres expresses ‘grave concern’ following explosion at large political rally for reform-minded Ethiopian Prime Minister

Coronavirus: Commission concludes exploratory talks with Valneva to secure a new potential vaccine

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

3+1 issues to haunt tomorrow’s EU Summit

‘Good enough’ global cooperation is key to our survival

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

FROM THE FIELD: Finding refuge in the ‘beautiful game’

There is a forgotten solution to climate change that we must invest in – nature

Coronavirus: a Disease that spreads as fastly as its fake news

How data is transforming the way we care for the ocean

This German supermarket’s shelves are filled with food other stores won’t sell

How trust and collaboration are key in India’s last mile response to the COVID-19 crisis

The European Sting writes down the history LIVE from G20 Leaders’ Summit in Turkey

At UN, Middle East countries discuss steps towards regional nuclear-free zone

Banking package: Parliament and Council reach an agreement

Coronavirus vs flu: how do they compare?

Autumn 2020 Economic Forecast: Rebound interrupted as resurgence of pandemic deepens uncertainty

Globally, youth are the largest poverty-stricken group, says new UN report

How a bionic arm is helping one little girl enjoy the things most take for granted

If you build it, they will come: Why infrastructure is crucial to tourism growth and competitiveness

7 steps to becoming a ‘CEO Academy’

Towards the Rise of the United States of the Atlantic?

How personalized care can tackle the late-life loneliness epidemic

Vaccines: contract between European Commission and AstraZeneca now published

There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one’s native land

Are we letting politicians play with migrants’ health?

Mobile technology facilitating social distance in the middle of a pandemic

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s