The European Council announced that a final declaration for the promotion of intercultural dialog has been agreed upon by culture ministers from Europe and neighboring regions at the conference that ended on December 3, 2008, in Baku, Azerbaijan. The conference brought together the 49 signatory states of the European Cultural Convention and the ministers of certain member states of the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO).
The Baku Declaration sums up the insights gained during the event and underlines the power and potential of culture as an instrument for intercultural dialog, peace, and sustainable development.
Among other things, ministers who signed the declaration affirmed in their preamble that “cultural diversity between and within countries [was] a common heritage of humankind,” while stressing “the important role of cultural policies at national, regional, and local levels, and their contribution to promoting intercultural dialog.”
The appendix to the declaration says that ministers agreed to strengthen the cooperation process launched in Baku, with a view, notably, to encouraging the signing, ratification, and subsequent implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
The ministers also agreed to develop or further strengthen common practical initiatives in the wake of the conference, building on previously agreed transborder cooperation projects, such as increased support for or the development of intercultural competences to facilitate access to works of art and artistic expressions from different cultures.