UNGA CONFERENCE 2019
Transforming Our World: Inclusive Social Development for All
25 September 2019, Wednesday
PANEL 1: Inclusive Social Development in achieving the Global Goals 2030
This session aimed to convene the role of inclusive social development policies and practices that help the United Nations achieve the Global Goals 2030. The panelists and participants discussed major issues concerning social inclusion and inequalities that play an important role in sustainable development and peace worldwide. The panelists focused on current challenges and potential opportunities around key aspects of social integration policies and access to basic public services. The session on inclusive social development helped lay the groundwork for the following discussions.
Tushar A. Gandhi
President & Founder, Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, INDIA
Role of the culture of peace in social cohesion and inclusiveness
Transforming our world is such an attractive notion that everyone wants to transform the world. Some want to change it for personal gain, others want to change it to meet their needs, some for their ambitions and others for their aggrandizement; What is common among all these is the selfish motive of egocentrism. True transformation occurs when one transforms one’s self, changes to improve and then inspires others to emulate the transformation. This is the kind of ethical and sustainable transformation. A mere declaration of intentions towards equality and inclusion will not bring about transformation. The transformation will have to become an individual responsibility, if we change as individuals, we can change society, nations and finally humanity.
The transformation must also be based on achieving equality. Today, in our consumption of earth’s resources, there is wide inequality. Now we are on the verge of self-destruction caused by our own greed and selfish nature. We can change, we must change, if we change individually, one at a time. We need a ‘Me First’ transformation movement. To transform humanity, we must start with children, they are the heirs of the world, education is what will empower our children to be able to inherit the world and keep it in confidence for the future. If we change individually, the result will be a global transformation, but it must begin with ‘Me first’.
Legal Manager, North America and the Caribbean, Thomson Reuters Foundation, USA
Importance of rule of law and democracy to reduce inequalities and implement social development policies
The Thomson Reuters Foundation is the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters and our focus areas are inclusive economy, media freedom and human rights. A part of our organization is TrustLaw, which is our global pro bono service that connects NGOs and social enterprises with the best law firms and internal legal teams from around the world to support the corporate / business needs on day to day basis, as well as cross-border research to support the change of policies on human rights, corruption, microcredit, health, energy and the environment, among others.
Legal pro bono assistance is vital to guarantee the protection of the rule of law and strengthen democracy. We promote the SDGs through pro bono legal assistance in two main ways:
- legal support as an impact accelerator: we provide daily legal support to non-profit organizations so that they can fully focus on their mission and achieve greater impact
- the law as a change agent: we support advocacy efforts and enable change of laws through our legal research work.
Examples of recent pro bono projects that strengthen the rule of law and reduce inequalities are:
- Critics are not criminals: protect journalists from criminal defamation laws
- Guide “Know your rights” on land rights
- Legal and jurisprudential investigation on the prosecution of crimes of sexual and gender-based violence and terrorism
- Research on laws related to fiscal secrecy.
Dr. Han Entzinger
Professor Emeritus of Migration and Integration Studies
Erasmus University Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS
Diversity and Social Inclusion
Migration is a major source of diversity in today’s world, and will continue to be so tomorrow. It is often claimed that diversity has a negative impact on social cohesion. The more people differ in a society, the less likely they will accept each other and develop mutual contacts. Is this true? Does diversity negatively affect social cohesion? And, if so, what policies can control or even correct this process?
A crucial condition for more cohesive societies is the granting of a solid legal position to immigrants. After having resided in a country for a certain number of years, they should be granted full residential status, preferably of a permanent nature, or even full citizenship. Residence security provides a perspective for newcomers, and for that reason it is a necessary condition for a fuller participation in the main institutions of society, such as the labor market, housing, education, health care and the political system.
A fuller participation of all members of a society, whether they are immigrants or not, whether at the neighborhood or national level, is essential to achieve greater social cohesion. Still, this does not come without certain challenges. An important challenge, particularly in the case of immigrants, is that more complete participation requires a certain degree of cultural adaptation. It would be tempting to say that such adaptation is reciprocal. In reality, however, newcomers adapt much more strongly to the dominant culture than vice versa. In summary, we can conclude that diversity is on the rise, especially due to increasing immigration.
Silvia Alejandra Perazzo
President, ANU-AR, ARGENTINA
Civil society participation to facilitate social development
In today’s global world, civil society spontaneously or collectively raises the need for structural changes. In this sense, civil society is always one step ahead of the State. In addition, it sets the agenda for major changes. Inclusive and quality education must reach all communities, as well as urban and rural areas and the vulnerable population. The educational polices need coordinated action between civil society, the state and international institutions whereas educational and financial laws ensure the intangibility of the funds allocated to education. Programs and projects should guarantee knowledge, skills attainment, behavior development that favor tolerance, dialogue and peace. Lastly, we are in need of mass campaigns against violence, discrimination, exclusion and lack of opportunities.
Writer at Dawn Newspaper, Falak Sufi Scholar 2018, PAKISTAN
The role of youth in creating inclusive social societies
Our personal traits and stories play a very important role in defining the world we live in and the challenges we face, and are an undeniable part of our human experience. But when we recognize our differences without judgment, we recognize that this only makes us stronger, more complete and more capable of addressing complex problems as a coherent whole rather than just from our limited reference point. Young people are the perennial reserve of hope, since an evolving world will always need those who see beyond the defects of the present and aspire to a better future. Only when we create inclusive platforms for young people from diverse backgrounds to interact freely, share their ideas and experiences and feed each other with the fuel of their exuberance and optimism.
Dr. Ada Juni Okika
Executive Director, Center for SDG Global Education
Since the Post-2015 Era, the Center for SDG Global Education has focused on “Education Solutions in Community Classrooms” along the SDG Goal # 4 and the its targets in the Global Agenda 2030. In the course of our reach, we observed that quality education and inclusion for lifelong learning seems far fetched in communities in developing countries. Most communities still lack a curriculum on educational technology and technological facilities, qualified teachers and standard teaching and learning infrastructure. In communities with opportunities and facilities for quality education, educational practices begin with a complex curriculum that focuses on what children do not know but what they know. This hinders quality education, which is expected that SDG Goal # 4 and its targets will address globally by leaving no one behind.
In addition, we launched Barr Juni and Irene Endowment Trust to raise $80,000 to help provide schools in the Community Rehabilitation Scheme, scholarships, introduce visiting teacher services to community classrooms and Global Teacher Classroom.
We are committed to these initiatives that will help achieve the Global Agenda 2030. In addition, these initiatives will support partnerships between stakeholders and UN agencies to address quality and inclusive education in community classrooms in developing countries.
As we digress on the input from the 74th Session of the UNGA, it is pertinent to focus on the addendum that the community classrooms have an urgent need to improve the quality of education and the level of teaching and learning to meet the demands of SDG Goal # 4 and its target globally.
The panelists agreed that we should stop preaching but share ideas about good service delivery with humility. Therefore, a central element in the transformation of the world is to start from the self before reaching out to others. If ONE does not transform himself/herself to get rid of prejudices, how can I transform the world? Two, an inclusive economy, media freedom and human rights are important to transform our world: Inclusive social development for all. It requires respect for people’s rights to movement and migration, respect for refugees and respect for their culture and their human rights. The promotion of diversity, the reduction of barriers and the acceptance of all people where they are found help to achieve a transformed world and inclusive social development for all. Civil societies have the arduous task of removing all obstacles that hinder the direction towards the transformation of Our world for inclusive social development for all. Civic education and good communication within the respective receptive communities where refugees, migrants and internally displaced people seek comfort.