UNESCO promotes rule of law and social justice

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TEHRAN, Iran – The International Conference “Global Cooperation of Independent and Permanent Neutral Turkmenistan for Peace and Trust”, jointly organized by the government of Turkmenistan and the UN Country Team in Turkmenistan, took place on April 15, 2021, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

In presence of H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, president of Turkmenistan, the Conference brought together high-level representatives of a number of International organizations with the mandate in securing peace and development, such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP); the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Eurasian Patent Organization (EPO), the heads of the regional bureaus of UN Agencies for Central Asia and Middle East, academia, practitioners etc.

The Conference was yet another high-level event organized within the International Year of Peace and Trust and an opportunity for debate on issues such as peace and security, sustainable economy and environment, and rule of law and social justice.

Dr Cvetan Cvetkovski, Officer-in-Charge of UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, participated in the plenary session “Rule of Law and Social Justice” with a statement presenting the work of UNESCO in the area of rule of law and social justice.

He emphasized that fostering rights, inclusion and non-discrimination has been important interdisciplinary and cross-cutting priority for UNESCO work on global, regional and national levels since the adoption in 2003 of the “Integrated UNESCO Strategy to Combat Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance”. While important advancements have been achieved in many areas, societies are still plagued by discrimination, racism and inequalities. The current COVID-19 crisis has clearly exacerbated all of them.

He continued by stating that: “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” and its call for the vital importance of human capacities, skills and knowledge to adapt and respond to the challenges and opportunities of the present and the future”.

Dr Cvetkovski further presented the major areas of UNESCO – Turkmenistan cooperation that focuseson the implementation of the SDGs in the areas of UNESCO competence, namely in education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture and communication and information, and the way they are anchored in the principles of the human rights-based approach in their implementation. He illustrated this approach with several examples in the implementation of the UNESCO strategic objective of mobilizing knowledge and embedding rights and ethics to foster and achieve social inclusion and peaceful and equitable societies.

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 as a backbone of all its actions. To transform that vision into reality in a multicultural world, Dr Cvetkovski concluded that: ”Our action must be anchored in human rights and gender equality, in promotion of 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 expertis.

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