Failure to take action on inequality and exclusion is the biggest threat to the attainment of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).
This is the underlying challenge that governments around the world must confront as they prepare for the first global review of the 17 goals agreed upon by 193 nations in 2015. This year, the UN general assembly in September will be dedicated to the SDGs.
Inequality and exclusion will also be a key highlight when UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed delivers the 2019 Annual Pluralism Lecture on June 11 in Lisbon, Portugal.
The lecture is expect to bring out the importance of pluralism in driving the achievement of SDGs that are designed to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030.
“Let’s be frank: inequality is growing both within and between countries. Youth unemployment is at alarming levels, and intolerance, extremism, nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise,” said Ms Mohammed.
Though some progress has been achieved in tackling poverty and improving maternal health, growing inequalities are rolling back gains in other areas, and in the worst cases, fueling conflict and forced migration.
Africa alone has over 20 million forcibly displaced people, most of them victims of violent conflict with children bearing the brunt while their families face a loss of dignity, health and livelihoods.
“Pluralism should be understood as an essential part of our global response to the differences that exist in every society,” said John McNee, secretary general of Global Centre for Pluralism, an independent, charitable organisation founded by His Highness The Aga Khan in partnership with the Canadian government.
The Annual Pluralism Lecture presents an opportunity to learn from extraordinary individuals whose work exemplifies pluralism in action.
Past lecturers have included South African anti-apartheid campaigner Justice Albie Sachs, former Chief Justice of Canada Beverley McLachlin and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.