In June 2019, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations delivered the 2019 Annual Pluralism Lecture, How Does Pluralism Advance the Sustainable Development Agenda? Ms. Mohammed articulated the pressing need for pluralism for achieving the SDGs and highlighted the dangers posed by growing inequalities.
According to Ms. Mohammed, both action and investment are needed if nations are to meet their development targets: “Let’s be frank: inequality is growing both within and between countries. Youth unemployment is at alarming levels, and intolerance, extremism, nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise.”
Even as some progress is being made in tackling poverty and improving maternal health, growing inequalities are rolling back gains in other areas, and in the worst cases, fueling conflict and forced migration.
Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention
Efforts to strengthen inclusion and reduce group-based inequalities are key to promoting peace and averting conflict. Conflict destabilizes and polarizes societies, undermines the integrity and efficacy of institutions, reverses development progress, and destroys the lives and livelihoods of those caught in the middle.
The Centre recognizes the importance of identifying and mitigating sources of conflict for societies to achieve Agenda 2030. To support national and international actors focused on preventing conflict and promoting peacebuilding, the Centre partnered with the IDRC to host the Canadian and Kenyan launches of the joint UN/World Bank report Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict. In Kenya, the Centre convened a series of events with experts to discuss the findings of the report and offer a Kenyan perspective on the challenges and successes of development, inclusion and conflict prevention.
The Centre is also supporting the work of Alice Wairimu Nderitu, a Kenyan peacemaker, conflict mediator and gender equality advocate, and winner of the 2017 Global Pluralism Award. Alice helped negotiate peace between ethnic groups following the 2007-08 Kenyan election violence and led efforts to ensure peaceful processes during the 2010 constitutional referendum and 2013 elections. Read more about Alice’s approach to pluralism here.
Lack of access to accurate, timely and disaggregated data is impeding efforts to measure, and therefore address, exclusion and inequality.
The SDG Summit (September 24-25, 2019) is an opportunity for Heads of Government from all 193 who have signed on to Agenda 2030 to follow up and comprehensively review the progress on the 17 Goals. It has been five years since the Goals were introduced. In that time, governments have started implementing policies and developing strategies for achieving the goals, but the lack of available data on many indicators makes tracking progress a serious challenge.
In response to the data challenge, the Centre is developing a Global Pluralism Index, a holistic tool to measure the state of inclusion, exclusion and inequalities in diverse societies around the world. Currently in its pilot stage, the Index will make an important contribution to Agenda 2030 through data and analysis about where in society inequalities and exclusion are taking place, who is being left behind and how, and highlight the pathways towards greater inclusion.