Priority Africa: Culture

© UNESCO / John Hogg
Four Seasons, a dance piece by Gregory Maqoma - Vuyani Dance Theatre, South Africa

As a source of wealth that does not have a price tag, culture can help promote social cohesion and youth engagement. It is also a wellspring for social resilience and , a source of identity and cohesion for societies at a time of major change. No development can be sustainable without it.

UNESCO therefore works with member states across the continent to unleash the huge potential of their rich and varied cultures. It does this by supporting the implementation of the UNESCO Culture Conventions and Recommendations as a unique global platform for international cooperation and dialogue that build on shared values and mutual commitments respecting cultural diversity. Emphasis is placed on strengthening policies as well as the institutional and professional capacities necessary to ensure the effective protection, safeguarding and promotion of heritage in all its forms, respect for cultural identities and the development of viable cultural and creative industries as drivers for growth and peace.

The International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) is an opportunity to strengthen efforts to combat prejudice, racism and discrimination handed down from history and to foster reconciliation and new ways of living together. Throughout the Decade, UNESCO will continue to promote new insights into the history of Africa, and encourage the renovation of teaching African history in the African Union Member States through its project entitled “the Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa".  It is highlighting the consequences of the slave trade and slavery on contemporary societies as well as the appreciation of the cultural expressions generated by the Diaspora communities through the Slave Route project: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage.

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