Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, has said that the United Nations and the United Arab Emirates share a vision linking tolerance to sustainability.
The UAE Minister of Tolerance said, “To understand the link between tolerance and sustainability one may look no further than the United Nations. In September 2015, the General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Building on the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’, these goals emphasise a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development for all.”
He went on to say that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan viewed sustainability as a community responsibility, adding, “When it comes to the environment, the responsible community is necessarily global. To be effective, our global community must be infused with a spirit of tolerance.”
In his speech during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, Sheikh Nahyan also stated that global cooperation demands the respectful and sympathetic inclusion of everyone irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, gender, ability or disability, age, political or philosophical belief, religion, or economic status. He explained that no element of the global population could wall itself away from the earth’s environment.
“Worldwide cooperation demands empathy, compassion, honesty, and the kind of dialogue that distinguishes the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. Tolerance builds bridges and allows us to fulfil our duty to the future of the planet. Tolerance is a powerful enabler of sustainability,” he added.
Speaking further about UN Sustainable Development Goals, Sheikh Nahyan said that, “Goal 16 is the embodiment of tolerance. Goal 16 states explicitly and I quote: ‘Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’. This is as clear and unequivocal a statement as possible emphasising the key role that tolerance plays in enabling sustainable societies.”
He noted that peaceful and inclusive societies are those that embrace and cherish diversity and difference in all its forms. However, like a bridge, tolerance requires constant attention,” he added, saying “Most important, our schools and universities, both religious and secular, must combat ignorance and promote understanding through the scholarship of its faculties and through their teaching of its students.”
“Free and open discussion must prevail. Curiosity must be honoured. Faculties must encourage students to cross the boundaries and engage the unknown. Human history reveals that men and women of all religions, ethnicities, and cultures have long been threatened by the unknown. It has too often been the case that many of ‘us’ have known very little about ‘them’.
“Even in today’s world of easy travel, instantaneous communication, and almost unlimited access to information, alarming numbers of us humans remain extremely parochial, indifferent to other points of view, resistant to new knowledge, content in our ignorance. Fears of the unknown breed hostility and often lead to armed conflict. Fear and ignorance destroy civilisations,” he continued.
“Today, we in the UAE have concluded that we prosper because we talk to each other. We seek to know and respect the other unique individuals who work by our side in building a prosperous global economy. We all proudly maintain our various personalities while respecting each other for the universal virtues that we all value,” Sheikh Nahyan concluded.