Cultural Expressions in Brazil

© UNESCO
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 facing social inequality, the country has been discovering the strong influence of culture in shaping this context, as well as its potential for social transformation of the current scenario. However, there is still room for developing a deeper cultural approach to Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendants in Brazil. Although they are groups with low social indicators, they have an exuberant wealth of cultural expressions that must be recognized and valued.

Special attention is necessary regarding the preservation and acknowledgement of Brazilian culture, such as:

  • the value of popular and indigenous traditions, art, customs, and expressions;
  • the recognition of the influence of African culture on the  Brazilian culture and history;
  • the preservation of endangered languages;
  • the value of traditional knowledge about nature;
  • the sustainable use of natural reserves and investments in infrastructure;
  • the affirmation of human rights;
  • the fight against discrimination.

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.

Through this historic agreement, the global community formally recognized the dual nature, both cultural and economic, of contemporary cultural expressions produced by artists and cultural professionals. Shaping the design and implementation of policies and measures that support the creation, production, distribution of and access to cultural goods and services, the 2005 Convention is at the heart of the creative economy.

Recognizing the sovereign right of States to maintain, adopt and implement policies to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expression, both nationally and internationally, the 2005 Convention supports governments and civil society in finding policy solutions for emerging challenges. 

The 2005 Convention aims to support national policies and measures to promote creation, production, distribution and access with regard to diverse cultural goods and services and to contribute to informed, transparent and participatory systems of governance for culture.

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