Building a culture of peace is the raison d’être of UNESCO. Democracy provides the enabling environment for the exercise of human rights and is a pre-condition for the establishment of lasting peace, as long as it is accompanied by equitable economic, social and cultural development.
UNESCO believes that peace “must be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind”. Dialogue across cultures, civilizations and diverse origins dispels “the ignorance of each other’s ways and lives”, which “has been a common cause, throughout the history of humanity, of suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have all too often broken into war” (UNESCO’s Constitution).
UNESCO contributes to peace, ethics, and dialogue in many ways:
- Giving a voice to young people and providing them with the necessary skills, opportunities and platforms maximizes their potential as actors for development.
- Supporting the development of social inclusion policies ensures equal opportunities, access to resources and to an enabling environment for the full participation of communities and individuals in shaping their societies (especially women, youth and the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups such as migrants, those living with disabilities and indigenous people).
- Sport and Post-Conflict Post-Disaster Education are tools for development, peace and community-building. Both foster social inclusion and are a means of increasing social capital.
- Global environmental change is a major contemporary driver of social transformation, and its effects are expected to grow through coming decades – possibly to the point of calling into question not just growth and prosperity but social inclusion and the realization of human rights.
UNESCO stands for values: human rights, promotion of human dignity, equality and mutual respect. The ethical dimensions of our programmes are reflected in our approach to ethics of science and technology. The character of contemporary leading-edge science research and technological advancement, the globalized effects of their application, and the increasing volume of research from a variety of countries necessitate a human rights-based global approach. UNESCO is dedicated to ensuring that science is always accompanied with appropriate reflection about its meaning and its effects on people, their rights, their societies and their environment.