Irina Bokova: “Sustainability begins with social equity and justice”

On 28 March, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, addressed the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Council (IGC) of the Management of Social Transformations (MOST), presided by H.E. Alicia Kirchner, Minister of Social Development of Argentina.

The 35 Member States of the MOST Programme, together with observer States and other stakeholders, met for two days to assess the implementation of the two thematic priorities of MOST -- Social Inclusion and Social Transformations arising from Global Environmental Change -- and to discuss the way forward to advance this agenda.

“This comes at the right time, because we are living at such a moment of change,” said the Director-General. “Across the world, societies are undergoing deep transformations. Societies are affected in different ways, but all are affected. Change is opening new opportunities for exchange and dialogue”.

“UNESCO works at the crossroads of these transformations, drawing on a unique mandate – and MOST is the only inter-governmental social science programme in the United Nations”.

The Director-General took this opportunity also to present fully her proposal to create a new Centre for Social Transformations and Intercultural Dialogue, to raise the profile, concentrate the focus and strengthen UNESCO’s action for social inclusion across all its fields of competences.

“I see this proposal as a major step for the future – to sharpen support to States in designing and implementing policies of inclusion, dialogue and access,” said the Director-General. “We need to integrate our work more coherently, to raise the profile of the social impact of what we do in education, the sciences, culture, communication and information”.

The Centre will pursue three strategic objectives – to strengthen the links between research and policy-making with a view to capacity-building, to lead innovative initiatives in education, culture, the sciences, communication and information for inclusive societies and intercultural dialogue and to act as a global laboratory of ideas and foresight to map out current and future needs and to design innovative proposals for the development of public policies.

“I see the Centre as a way to build on MOST and strengthen it, drawing on its very unique mandate and specific focus and placing it in a wider framework.” said the Director-General. “Accompanying social transformations for sustainable development, promoting intercultural dialogue are inscribed in the DNA of UNESCO – we need today a single, strategic tool them forward in new times.”