President of UN General Assembly welcomes UNESCO’s leadership in 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

On 2 December, 2015, Mr Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly came to UNESCO to meet with UNESCO Director-General Ms Irina Bokova and representatives of UNESCO’s Senior Management Team to pursue an in-depth discussion on the importance of UNESCO’s role in leading the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, its implementation and follow up, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the presence of her Senior Management Team, Irina Bokova underlined that the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Change Conference embody a single agenda for human rights, poverty eradication, and sustainability in respect for the boundaries of the planet. She highlighted here also the importance of UNESCO’s action to counter violent extremism as well as cultural cleansing.

“We need green economies – but we must also build green societies,” said Irina Bokova.

The Director-General presented the full spectrum of UNESCO’s engagement in shaping the new 2030 Agenda and the range of competences and experience the Organisation is mobilising to ensure its effective mobilisation – including promoting a comprehensive approach to inclusive quality education for all, bolstering STI in response to climate change, advancing the empowerment of girls and women, supporting social inclusion and youth engagement, safeguarding cultural heritage and diversity, and upholding freedom of expression and media development.

“UNESCO’s soft power is essential for advancing the 2030 Agenda, for responding to climate change and for fighting violent extremism and radicalization”, she said.

President Lykketoft acknowledged the important role of UNESCO in taking forward action across all of these goals. He underlined the importance of education to fight radicalisation and of freedom of expression and promoting the safety of journalists as an integral part of the basic rights and freedoms of societies. President Lykketoft also invited the Director-General to collaborate further on these important issues, in the context of the General Assembly’s forthcoming Thematic Debates.

Ms Bokova and President Lykketoft agreed that deepening sustainability and achieving progress against the new Sustainable Development Goals will‎ require breaking the silos of disciplines and agencies, in implementing and monitoring the 2030 Agenda. “Taking this forward requires cross-cutting action across the board,” said Irina Bokova.