20.05.2013 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Cultural diversity is crucial for development. Celebrating World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, 21 May

©UNESCO/N. Shakya -Chandra Bahadur Jirel practicing shamanism in Jiri

The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, which is worldwide celebrated on 21 May, provides an opportunity to promote culture in all its diversity and in all its forms: tangible and intangible heritage, creative industries, goods and services.

“Culture, in all its diversity, can foster a sense of identity and cohesion for societies at a time of uncertainty. It is also a powerful source of creativity and innovation. No development can be sustainable without it”, says Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, in her message for the day that was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 2002.


Culture is a driver of development, led by the growth of the cultural sector and creative industries and the benefits arising from safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage. It is also an enabler for sustainable development - the context in which development policies can move forward, through local ownership, with efficiency and impact. Intercultural dialogue is essential to make the most of diversity, to deepen the roots of development and share its benefits.

“By including culture in the new United Nations Assistance Framework for Nepal,  the UN Country Team in Nepal recognized that the intellectual, social and cultural fabric of the Nepali society is a key determinant of country’s development”, says Axel Plathe, UNESCO representative to Nepal.

In Nepal, culture becomes an increasingly powerful economic driver. Cultural industries, cultural tourism, the preservation of the rich Nepali heritage and the use of local traditional know-how, for example in arts and crafts, are creators of jobs and revenues and a contributor to poverty eradication strategies.

Culture also contributes to foster dialogue and social cohesion.  Hence, harnessing the power of Nepal’s cultural diversity, fostering dialogue among its many communities, and using the shared heritage to garner shared values are crucial for building the new Nepal.

Nepal as a signatory to several normative and standard setting instruments including UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972 and the UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of 2003 is also a recipient of various UNESCO’s capacity building initiatives and international cooperation for their determined application at national level. The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions of 2005 is yet to be ratified by Nepal.


Kathmandu, 20 May 2013

Press release UNESCO/KAT 06/2013

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