‘Impact of Culture on Sustainable Development’ Virtual Panel Discussion
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“Fighting for cultural diversity is fighting for biodiversity, the two overlap so much”, said Dr Anthony Löwstedt during the panel discussion “Impact of Culture on Sustainable Development” hosted on September 8 during The Long Nights of Interculturality 2021. Ms. Josipa Palac, ICDO President moderated the event and hosted four prominent professionals with different backgrounds and areas of expertise and explored further the role of cross-cultural collaboration between academia, states and NGOs in contributing to the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda. The event was opened with a musical performance by Aidana Madyar-Flute, Lizaveta Bormotova-Piano and Lidiya Mashek-Cello.
Canada is one of the leaders worldwide in terms of sustainable development strategies and contributions to 2030 Agenda. Ms. Kelly Ann Anderson, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. at the Embassy of Canada to Austria stated that an important component of Canada’s climate adaptation strategy approach is the focus on community engagement, highlighting the importance of the inclusive climate change adaptation strategies.
“We let the local communities identify what they need, and then the governments provide funding.”
Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niaah, Director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies at The University of the West Indies in Jamaica emphasized the importance of cultural diversity and inclusion for both her private and professional life. She underlined that, in order to form inclusive strategies, everyone in society should be reached no matter one’s gender, level of education or cultural background.
…the way we talk about it [sustainable development] should really be translated to the person on the ground… in the indigenous context it might be that we need to meet them under the tree.
Dr. Anthony Löwstedt, Professor at the Webster Vienna Private University and a Media Professional has taken a critical approach in terms of our progress in building more inclusive world, stating that it is of utmost importance to come quickly from the multi-stakeholder stage to the “totally-inclusive-all” stage.
“When the intolerant become powerful, they start destroying cultural diversity… A racist policy or political party should never be put on the same level as other non racists ones.”
Both Dr. Stanley Niaah and Ms. Siphelele Ngobese, Researcher for the Inclusive Cities Programme at the South African Cities Network (SACN), stated that their countries’ history is marked by exploitation and racism. Ms. Ngobese pointed out that inclusion is one of the keys in progressing more efficiently and developing sustainably.
…not so sure if we, [South Africans], have taken up the opportunity enough to tap into indigenous cultures in terms of how they can help us develop in a resource efficient way… The engagement of young people as credible authoritative cultural actors is often forgotten…