As part of the preparation of the UNESCO World Report on cultural diversity, to be published in May, 2008, Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura opened the first meeting of the advisory committee he established to assist in the deliberations of the new World Reports Group on September 25.
This committee, made up of experts from every region including prominent specialists in anthropology, social sciences, communication, education, aboriginal issues, and drawing on contributions from a Board of Trustees, should ensure that the approach taken to this second World Report covers all aspects of the cultural diversity. It will also have recourse to consultations with civil society and academic communities and internal and interdisciplinary consultations. Through analysis and discussion of best practices, this report, which, like other UNESCO reports, will be accompanied by concrete recommendations, should permit the formulation of new policies adapted to today’s ethical and cultural demands and taking into account the need for education and sustainable development. This new approach should allow UNESCO world reports to play a key role as a kind of “ laboratory of ideas” within the organization’s spheres of activity.
Mr. Matsuura underscored the importance, in the context of globalization, of the subject matter of this 2nd report, a further illustration of UNESCO’s mission, to promote “the fertile diversity of cultures” and “the free exchange of ideas by word and image.” He went on to reflect that “It is maybe here, in preparing this World Report, the opportune moment to highlight its intersectoral character. The cultural questions should find their echo in the problems linked to education, science and culture”. Director-General went on to invite the advisory committee to “look at new forms of cultural diversity.” He concluded by declaring, “we are counting on you, in your fields of expertise, in your professional communities and in your regions, to explore all of the intellectual resources and advice that you may access.”
Intended for the scientific, intellectual and academic communities, the public at large and political decision-makers, the World Report aims at providing information on current issues in cultural diversity. Between now and May 2008, at least three meetings of the committee have been organized for this purpose.