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February 19, 2020

UNSG for reforming curriculum to handle future challenges

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February 19, 2020

LAHORE: United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres has stressed the need for reforming academic curriculum to deal with the future challenges.

In his meeting with student representatives on ‘Role of the youth in UN of the 21st Century” at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) as well a visit to the DHA kindergarten school, he said the United Nations was taking steps to ensure equality among people as well as states.

He said the role of technology is now more important than ever and that the youth must bring themselves at par with the latest trends. "Keeping in mind the challenges of the future, the curriculum has to be changed."

"We have to take decisions keeping in mind the environmental issues as it is the biggest challenge that we are facing," he added. He said “power has to be taken, it is not given” and added that the UN system was evolved after the World War-II and its disconnection with the people could create mistrust. The UN chief said the people of Kashmir have every right to get humane treatment, political rights and fundamental freedom.

Antonio said terrorism, hate speeches and criminal organisations use the internet and the cyberspace to create divisions among societies. He said many things could become a nightmare if they were not properly regulated and the new technologies like the internet and cyberspace could become a tool for terrorists if not properly channelled.

While speaking about regulating the social media, the UN General Secretary said a multi-stakeholders approach was needed to adopt laws. He said companies were averse to regulation a decade ago and today organisations like the Microsoft was asking for regulations’ adding the UN had constituted a high-level of committee to recommend to the UN more flexible mechanism from lawyers, companies and civil society. While terming Pakistan a far more secure country today than in the past, he urged the world leaders to get united against crippling disease of polio. He also administered anti-polio drops to children in the school.

The UN chief expressed his satisfaction that Pakistan was working effectively to eradicate polio from country.

The UNSG said the presence of youth was absolutely vital in the corridors of power where policymaking and decision making were done. He said the inclusion of the youth in decision making was vital as the new generations was more exposed to the threats by the new technologies, if not properly regulated.

Antonio stressed the need for more youth participation and gender parity within political systems and international organisations in order to address issues like global warming, unfair globalisation, unregulated new technologies and conflicts in the world.

He said it had become necessary to engage young people in order to promote institutional dialogue in democracies. Antonio Guterres hailed optimism of the youth towards the future of the globe, adding that their participation was vital to shape the future of the world. Underscoring the need for women participation in world affairs, Guterres said the UN was evolving a strategy under which role of men and women was equal in all world bodies by the 2028. He said the women were playing the role they should play in world affairs.

While supporting equality for women, he said the male dominated global society had failed to check the conflicts for being more aggressive while presence of women in international bodies had compassion to control the permanent cycles of conflict.

He said he had appointed an equal number of men and women as assistant secretary-generals and undersecretary generals to ensure equality among the genders.

About globalization, he said despite producing enormous benefits to the world in trade, etc, globalisation has produced increase in poverty levels which had become a threat to the social cohesion of societies.

He said the governments, across the globe must formulate economic and social strategies under which globalisation worked for all and no one was left behind.

Over the issue of climate change, Antonio Guterres said that there has been a war between humans and the nature and the nature is striking back with enormous power. He said the world today was faced with the challenges of record increase in levels of gaseous emissions in the air, land and sea, rising temperatures, soaring water levels due to melting of glaciers melting

Terming climate change a defining issue of the current age, the UNSG said we lacked political will to reverse the climate emergency we live in despite being citizens of a global world.

He said as the world body, we must ensure that the temperatures don’t rise more than 1.5 degrees, and the carbon emission remain low in the next decade. Guterres said mobilization of the youth was important as the climate challenges were to effect more adversely to the young generations in the coming decades.

He warned that if the things kept moving in the current manner, the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 will not be met. He said UN’s ‘Youth Climate Summit’ in September 2019 was a mean to force politicians to understand that things have o change on climate.

Antonio Guterres said single use plastics posed a great threat to environment, adding that most countries have banned the use and Pakistan is one of those.

He said that an African country Rawanda had banned single use plastics some 15 years ago. He said plastics pose a very serious problem under the seas with micro-plastics and nano-plastics. He urged the governments to ban it across the globe.

Urging the need to regulate modern technologies, Guterres said the youth had a key role to play as the world regulates or devises a mechanism in checking the wrong use of the modern technologies like the digital society; artificial intelligence and genetic engineering become a problem for the world societies.

He said the enormous potential of the new technologies must be utilised, but warned that it would be during the life of the youth of today that the world would see the full impact of new technologies.

The UN Secretary General also said civic space was shrinking in many societies and stated that more human rights activists were in jails today. He said the young people can play a very vital role in safeguarding human rights in societies. While speaking during his visit to the DHA Kindergarten, the UNSG praised the commitment of the polio workers who lost their lives in the line of duty and stated he had come here to express solidarity to them.

Antonio Guterres stressed the need to eradicate polio and urged all world leaders to join hands to defeat it.

He also lauded the efforts of Punjab government in eradicating polio. Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid welcomed the UNSG and stated that the government was taking all measures to purge the country of polio. She added that around 45,000 workers had participated in the anti-polio campaign and administered drops to children while going door to door.

She claimed that no case of polio was reported in Punjab and stated that visit of the UNSG to Pakistan was a matter of immense pleasure for the nation.

Meanwhile, the UNSG also visited the historic Badshahi Masjid where he was welcomed by Khateeb Abdul Khabeer Azad and other senior officials. The guest visited different parts of the Masjid and praised its architecture.

Sher Ali Khalti & Muhammad Noor Ahmad add: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Darbar Sahib Kartarpur Corridor and was briefed about the facilities being provided to the Sikh community by the Pakistani government.

He was told that the purpose of opening the Kartarpur Corridor was to provide easy access to the Sikh community across border.

The UN chief said, “Opening of Kartarpur Corridor was a practical example of Pakistan's desire for peace and inter-faith harmony.”

He was welcomed by a delegation, led by Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri. Chairman Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), Pardhan Stwant Singh, MPA Ramesh Singh Arora, Imran Gonadal and other officials were also present. He met many Sikh religious leaders.

According to a spokesperson for ETPB, Guterres also visited the on-site soup kitchen at the gurdwara, where he was served a traditional meal of rice and lentils. The kitchen caters to all Sikh pilgrims visiting the gurdwara, providing them free meals as is traditional at all Sikh temples.

Guterres, during his Lahore visit, also attended various functions and visited some historic places in the city including Lahore Fort and Badshahi Masjid.