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Education for Global Citizenship: A Vital Tool for Strengthening Social Development in the Contemporary World

Oral Statement delivered on behalf of the Coalition on Global Citizenship at the Commission on Social Development 2016.

Efforts to achieve goals of the magnitude envisioned in Agenda 2030 will need to secure the commitment and support of the peoples of the world, and meaningfully integrate their contributions into global processes of development. People are at the center of Agenda 2030, and this is a major victory. But we need to find ways to build capacity in growing numbers of people to contribute to these goals, each according to his or her particular circumstances.

Identifying as a global citizen begins with the recognition of the oneness of the human family, our interconnectedness with each other as individuals and nations, and our responsibility to a sustainable relationship with the earth. A Global Citizen strives towards the realization of equality between all peoples, regardless of any superficial categorization such as genders, race, ethnicity, or national or religious identity. Education for global citizenship promotes human honor and dignity, cooperation, trustworthiness, compassion and a desire to serve others. Human capacity is defined not only by one’s potential to achieve goals, but also one’s determination to take needed actions.

The ability to read social reality and take effective action requires an education that equips us with the appropriate attitudes, knowledge and skills; such as capacities that support social and economic justice both within and among nations, and non-adversarial decision making at all levels of society. Education, formal, non-formal and informal that promotes the understanding of our roles and responsibilities will be needed from the earliest ages, throughout our lives.

In order to inspire people worldwide to champion social development, a profound understanding of global citizenship needs to be enthusiastically promoted through education programs around the world. Therefore, we make 3 recommendations today:

  • That the UN system call on Member States to promote education for Global Citizenship at all levels and life stages of the population
  • That Governments support efforts already in place, and ensure cooperation of international education systems, civil society and social systems
  • That Civil Society and all stakeholders to include Global Citizenship in their educational and social initiatives

Fostering global citizenship is a practical strategy for promoting the universal implementation of the sustainable development goals. Only upon a foundation of genuine unity, harmony and understanding among the diverse peoples and nations of the world, can a sustainable global society be constructed.