Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 2005 : what is our duty?

The international community is celebrating its creative diversity for the third consecutive year on May 21, 2005. With this World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, the General Assembly of the United Nations wishes to "p ublic awareness raising with the value of Cultural Diversity". The Day will provide us with an opportunity to deepen understanding of the values of Cultural Diversity and to learn to “live together” better. This is why UNESCO appeals to the Member States as well as to all civil society to celebrate this World Day by involving as many actors and partners as possible.

The World Day for Cultural Diversity coincides this year with the third session of the Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts on the preliminary draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions . In his message to the international community, the Director-General of the UNESCO, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, emphasized that the World Day for Cultural Diversity « sustains and preserves the tremendous unifying impetus generated by the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, adopted by acclamation in 2001. Cultural diversity has become pivotal to the future of societies and requires renewed action. That was why UNESCO, summoned by its Constitution to further “the fruitful diversity of the cultures” of the world was tasked by the international community to elaborate an international convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions, considered to have been greatly undermined by current processes and not as yet enjoying any particular protection. For UNESCO, the need to work in this field is a necessity since cultural diversity is the fruit of the opening up of cultures to each other and of the resultant exchanges, and it can only thrive if the conditions are established for each individual and each society to gain access to this exceptional asset. »

That is why Mr. Matsuura used the event as an opportunity to «to invite all Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and civil society to bear witness and act to raise public awareness of the challenges of cultural diversity. Appealing in particular to culture professionals, he should like to encourage them to take a hard-hitting message to the public, which is avid for cultural diversity, by helping them understand that “living means living in culture”. » Moreover, his wish is for this third celebration of cultural diversity « to be for us all an opportunity to devise and experiment with new forms of “cultural harmony” in a world in which exchanges will be more fruitful when they are based on a multitude of voices that is not only accepted but is actively sought, for the prosperity of our creative diversity and the fulfilment of all. »

In Québec , the national Assembly adopted a joint motion that acknowledges World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development by supporting the adoption of an international Convention at UNESCO in 2005 that asserts the right of states and governments to maintain, develop, and implement policies to support culture and the diversity of cultural expressions.»

In central America, the countries of the region (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Salvador) will link up to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity in Oaxaca City (Mexico) in collaboration with Mexican institutions such as the National Council for Culture and the Arts, the National Institute of Anthropology and History and the National University, as well as with the national authorities. The 2-day programme will comprise a variety of activities ranging from the academic (a conference and round table on cultural diversity and democracy) to the cultural and the artistic.

In a similar vein, the countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kirghizistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, and Mongolia) are holding a Festival on Cultural Diversity and Dialog on May 26, at UNESCO in Paris, which will include a roundtable on the following themes: culture as a tool to promote dialog, peace, and social and economic development in Central Asia; Central Asian cultural policies and globalization; and cultural policies and UNESCO’s role as an agent of change in Central Asia. [05-15]