Sponsor: United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
Organizers: Universal Peace Federation and Global Citizen Forum
UN DAG HAMMARSKJOLD AUDITORIUM
October 31, 2014
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here today for this very special event that the UNAOC is sponsoring and co-organized by Universal Peace Federation and Global Citizen Forum.
I have had many opportunities to work with Dr. Thomas Walsh and to support his organization in its interreligious and intercultural activities dedicated to building peace between nations leaning on families and spirituality. We are happy to count him and Taj Ahmad among our friends in our search for solutions to global problems.
I am very pleased to introduce an accomplished businessman and philanthropist Dr. Modi. He has been highly active in developing intercultural and interfaith understanding, focusing on how to bridge the gap between artificial boundaries and the real world through technology. I can say that the Global Citizenship Program serves as a shining example of the transformative power of technology in changing hatred into understanding.
I now welcome the opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities of globalization and sustainable development, which encompass both complementary and contradictory themes.
Globalization has been welcomed and embraced as a paradigm of economic and social interdependence and linkage among states, particularly in the areas of finance, markets, trade, technology, media and communication.
The social and economic advances brought by globalization through technological innovation may serve to help us in our daily lives easing our activities. But it is much more than this.
It represents a soft power tool that allows us to bring peace and to bring communities closer. And in this search to advance security and sustainable development, governments, NGO’s and the private sectors play an essential role.
Globalization can facilitate the achievement of sustainable development goals through improved integration between countries, better technology and improved communication. Sustainable development, however represents, a different trajectory for development. With sustainable development, we are not talking simply about economic growth, but also about the impact of economic growth on the environment and the social structure of countries.
And, if countries are to gain the benefits of globalization, the task of public policy must be to preserve and advance social, cultural and environmental values. In this sense, the demands of globalization and of the Sustainable Development Goals increase the importance of government policy and international cooperation.
To succeed in dealing with these challenges, we need stable and predictable governance that includes widespread civic participation and partnerships at different levels of society. This implies a vision of governance that integrates, rather than further fragments, public policies, actions and institutions. It means a “whole of government” approach that fully incorporates the values of civil society, the private sector and non-governmental organizations in decision-making.
Interaction and partnerships between NGOs, governments and the corporate sector are proving highly dynamic and rapidly evolving. At present two distinct approaches are evident.
At one end of the spectrum, some NGOs continue to pursue a confrontational approach, applying a wide range of campaign strategies such as provocation, consumer boycotts, litigation and direct protest.
At the other end, a growing number of NGOs, have entered strategic partnership with multinational corporations recognizing that corporations can become effective role models or advocates for broader societal concerns.
We should be aware however that the expanding role of NGOs in governance has implications for public debate and policy making in terms of their legitimacy and accountability. NGOs bring with them new implications for democratic engagement.
Finally, globalization and sustainable development are issues that transcend national boundaries and cultures. Thus, we must use the benefits of contemporary innovations and economic development not only to address them; but to find the adequate long-term solutions.
Let us focus on initiatives based on the business, technology and social sectors; ones aligned with the Post-2015 Development Agenda. I personally wish that this meeting brings better understanding of the sustainable development Goals and the role of Government, NGOs and Private Sector in contributing to their implementation through an enhanced learning, and dialogue.
I also expect that all participants will learn from each other’s experiences, share ideas, and formulate the best ways to engage themselves and create a plan of action in achieving sustainable development through the means of dialogue.
I thank you for your attention.