In Tokyo, UN deputy chief cites benefits of local-level social dialogue on sustainable development

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed speaks at the Asahi World Forum 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: UNIC Tokyo/Takashi Okano

2 October 2017 – United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, at an event in Tokyo today, stressed the need for social dialogue on sustainable development, expressing her expectations regarding the role of media in bringing different constituents together to reflect on difficult questions such as on sustainable life style.

“Every country should open up a social dialogue within its own communities. It is a marvelous opportunity which media can provide by asking tough questions,” she said at an event themed 'Overcoming Divides for Our Future,' which took place at the Asahi World Forum 2017. “The United Nations can help provide a space for dialogue to close the gap between reality and aspiration, with inclusiveness and representation,” she added.

Addressing to the audience, half of which was university and high school students, the Deputy Secretary-General underscored the essence of “no one left behind” enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and importance to include youth in this dialogue to decide on their future. “Youth and women remain marginalized and must be empowered to close the inequality divide.”

Referring to the fast evolving 'fourth Industrial Revolution,' she emphasized the need of high-quality education for young people to be equipped with necessary skill sets.

She also stressed her expectation for Japan and Japanese businesses to show leadership in transforming the society in the direction of sustainability and inclusion, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as a momentous occasion to mobilize “whole-of-society” efforts.

Also in her remarks, the Deputy Secretary-General highlighted that though the financing needs for sustainable development are considerable, enough private and public investment do exist. “These financial resources have to be unlocked and channeled to sustainable development,” she said, referring to the importance of partnerships.

In responding to a question raised by a high school student in the audience about leadership qualities essential to addressing SDGs, Ms. Mohammed responded “integrity, courage, and passion to make a difference” and encouraged the audience to think what they hope for and what actions they can take for their aspirations.


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