UNESCO highlights key role of intercultural dialogue for sustainable future

World Tuesday 11/June/2024 15:00 PM
By: Xinhua
UNESCO highlights key role of intercultural dialogue for sustainable future

United Nations: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Monday underscored that intercultural dialogue is key to the sustainable future on the first International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations, recently established by a UN resolution.

"It is a means to understand each other, to cooperate, and develop trust," Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO assistant director-general for social and human sciences, emphasised in a video message that "the world is at a crossroad." Amidst global challenges like climate change, pandemics, conflict, and growing social and economic inequalities, she highlighted the necessity for cooperative solutions. Yet, we face "record levels of xenophobia, racism, and polarisation eroding the social fabric of our societies."

Ramos pointed out that the digital transformation, while promising to bring us closer, also risks pushing us further apart, weakening trust in institutions. "If we want to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and address these challenges, both inclusively and sustainably, we need to come together."

Intercultural dialogue "allows us to celebrate and leverage diversity" and is a "tool for peace and inclusion." However, Ramos noted that "today, 1.5 billion people live in countries with low capacities for dialogue, where global challenges are more prevalent."

"We need to talk," said Ramos, underscoring the urgency of fostering intercultural understanding.

"For more than 75 years, intercultural understanding has been at the DNA of our institution and our mission to build peace in the minds of people," Ramos stated. She welcomed the adoption of the International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations, viewing it as "an opportunity to shine a light on the potential of dialogue to build bridges across differences and equip our societies with the means to solve all the challenges."

UNESCO is ready to work with partners, including the People's Republic of China, using the international day as a catalyst for impactful action. Ramos expressed enthusiasm for new support of UNESCO's flagship initiative, RISE, namely Reinforcing Intercultural Dialogue, Solidarity, and Equity, and looks forward to "working together to make intercultural dialogue shine."

The 78th session of the UN General Assembly on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution proposed by China to establish the International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations.

The resolution stated that all civilizational achievements are "the collective heritage of humankind." It advocated respecting the diversity of civilizations, emphasising "the crucial role of dialogue" among civilizations in maintaining world peace, promoting common development, enhancing human well-being, and achieving collective progress.