While important advancements have been achieved in many areas, societies are still plagued by discrimination, racism and inequalities. None of the multifaceted and complex challenges of our times can be tackled effectively without inclusion. This is the resounding message of Agenda 2030 and its pledge to “Leave no one behind”.
To transform that vision into reality in a multicultural world, action must be anchored in human rights and gender equality, and promote openness, empathy and other shared values. This is the cornerstone of UNESCO’s normative and operational work which advances respect, protection and fulfilment of the rights in areas where UNESCO has a clear comparative advantage and expertise.
Cities play an important role in promoting diversity and inclusion, targeting the most disadvantaged groups, such as persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, youth, migrants and refugees, vulnerable women and girls, and the elderly. In an increasingly urban world, it is from cities that many of the greatest societal challenges emerge, so it is in cities that they must be faced – from growing inequalities to poverty and discrimination in all its forms. As centres of migration, diversity and connectivity, cities are also sites of innovation, exchange, learning, dialogue and cooperation, and are, as such, the very spaces in which creative solutions to contemporary challenges will be found.
Moreover, drawing on an expertise of more than 25 years in breaking the silence on the slave trade and slavery, UNESCO highlights the links between the history of the slave route and the modern expressions of prejudice, racism and discrimination. UNESCO also emphasizes the contributions of enslaved people to receiving societies through the identification, preservation and promotion of sites and itineraries of memory.
In response to these challenges and by applying a human rights-based approach and a gender lens, UNESCO is working with Member States, local stakeholders and various partners through dialogue, capacity-building and advocacy.
From the right to education and the right to science, to the right to cultural diversity and the right to freedom of expression, fundamental human rights are both the universal expression of the values and ideals around which UNESCO is united, and a call to action to ensure these standards are a mainstay of its mission.
UNESCO anchors in human rights, inclusion and non-discrimination its cooperation with cities towards SDGs 5, 11 and 16, as well as the New Urban Agenda. It also contributes to achieving SDG target 4.7.
- Normative instruments
- Brochure on City policies on living together
- Social Inclusion of Young Persons with Disabilities (PWD) in Lebanon: Where do we stand and what should be done to promote their rights?
- Reducing and Eliminating HIV-Related Stigma and Discrimination in South East Asia
- Comparative Analysis of HIV/AIDS Laws in Selected Asian Countries That Affect Stigma and Discrimination
- Study on Challenges in the Development of Local Equality Indicators: a Human-rights-centered Model (Coalition of Cities against Racism - Discussion Paper Series n°5)
In order to respond to the challenges emerging in modern societies, UNESCO has adopted a new Integrated Strategy to Combat Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance (32 C/13) in October 2003.