For the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on August 9, the UNESCO director general addressed a message to the international community emphasizing the links between culture, development, and identity.
UNESCO, said Koïchiro Matsuura, is convinced that development must be based on the diversity of cultures, “one of the roots of development, understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral, and spiritual existence” as stated in the 2001 UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.
“In adopting the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and related conventions devoted to the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) and the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005), UNESCO has built a legal arsenal in which indigenous peoples are recognized as custodians of cultural diversity and biodiversity. Together, these international instruments provide a framework for protecting and promoting cultural expressions, both in their traditional and contemporary forms, with special emphasis on indigenous peoples,” he continued.
The address is available in full from the UNESCO website in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese.