Cultural diversity

Publications and Studies

ONG, temoins de la diversite culturelle: du concept à la mise en oeuvre

Commission programmatique mixte ONG-UNESCO - Dialogue entre les cultures pour la paix

UNESCO, décembre 2003 - 2003/12

Drawing on the work of the recent General Conference—particularly the final resolution calling on the UNESCO director general to study the desirability of transforming the 2001 Declaration on Cultural Diversity into a binding convention to be submitted for adoption at the next Conference—the UNESCO-NGO Joint Program Commission has added its own contribution by releasing a report illustrating problems linked to the dialog of cultures and exploring solutions appropriate for a wide variety of geographical, cultural, and social contexts. The document contains texts by experts explaining the significance of cultural diversity and the issues it raises, NGO presentations of a variety of meaningful experiences in the practice of cultural diversity, and a summary of debates. In her introductory remarks, Ms Katérina Sténou, director of UNESCO’s Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue, stresses the urgency of clarifying current conceptions of cultural diversity and the need to avoid “a crude hodgepodge” and “overly vague definitions reducing the notion to a comfortable preconception that panders to the spirit and seduces public opinion without any mobilizing effect.” She adds that it is equally urgent “to address the conceptual, legal, and political challenges raised by the adoption of the Declaration and the pending debate on the desirability of a convention on cultural diversity.” She affirms that “in the medium term, only a policy capable of transforming the reality of diversity into a pluralist ideal can resolve the conflicts of interest exacerbated by globalization.” She also believes that it is urgent to “explore the innumerable links between cultural diversity, dialog, and development,” declaring that “not only must we all recognize otherness in all its forms, but also the plurality of our own identities within today’s pluralistic societies. Only then can we preserve cultural diversity as both an evolving process and a capacity for expression, creation, and innovation.” (Available in French only)