Cultural Diversity in Brazil

Quarup ritual of Caiapó Indian tribe - Xingú, Brazil

Brazil has a remarkable creative diversity. Cultural diversity can be a central issue for the development of projects in the country, especially focusing on Indigenous People and Afro-descendents.

Areas like traditional crafts, small manufacturers, fashion and design are strategic areas for Brazil, given their capacity to improve the living conditions of the poorer people. It can bring individual enpowerment and can contribute to poverty reduction.

In attempting to face its most pressing problem – social inequality – the country has been discovering the strong influence of culture in shaping this reality and its potential importance to the eventual social transformation of the current scenario.

There is still lack of deeper cultural approach when dealing with Indigenous People and Afro-descendants. These two minority groups resent the worst social indicators of the country, but only in the last few years have been targeted by specific social policies.

More needs to be done to preserve:

  • Indigenous people's traditions,
  • Indigenous languages that are in danger of disappearing,
  • Indigenous traditional knowledge related to nature,
  • Indigenous peoples' lands - there are conflicts related to the expansion of the agricultural frontier and investments in infrastructure,
  • the affirmation of the rights of indigenous peoples, including their right to cultural and linguistic diversity,
  • African culture's influence in Brazilian culture and history.

UNESCO Brasilia Office is often sought out on issues of Cultural Diversity, particularly when it is seen not only in the context of the imbalance between countries that produce and consume cultural products, but also in its links with human rights and minority rights, and as a way of fighting discrimination that causes inequality.

In 2007, Brazil ratified the UNESCO Convention on Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions, approved in 2005. The Convention is a legal instrument that guides the Organization in elaborating concepts, goals, and policies in favour of cultural diversity with emphasis on pluralism, on dialogue between cultures and their various beliefs, and on development policies.

The Organization also emphasizes the opportunities that the Convention has been creating in respect to national legal instruments and to related entities. UNESCO expects to contribute to the impact evaluation of this international instrument on commercial relations that involve cultural services and cultural goods.

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