Cultural diversity is a valuable resource for attaining development goals
Our cultural diversity is the common heritage of humanity. It is a source of renewal of ideas and societies, through which we open up to others and craft new ways of thinking. This diversity provides opportunities for peace and sustainable development.
In the final push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, UNESCO is continuing to strengthen its advocacy and action in favour of the link between culture and sustainable development.
The resolution adopted in December 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly, recognizing the role of culture as a driver and enabler of sustainable development, is an invitation to further mobilize the potential of cultural diversity. This diversity is a valuable resource for attaining development goals, including fighting poverty and promoting gender equality, quality education and human rights, and we must fully integrate it into the global strategies for sustainable development.
The United Nations Creative Economy Report 2013, co-published by UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), confirms that the creative economy is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the world. Figures show that world trade in creative goods and services totalled a record $624 billion in 2011 and that it more than doubled from 2002 to 2011. From audio-visual design to production, performing arts to new media, publishing to the visual arts, our cultural diversity is a creative diversity. It is a source of employment and income, conveying identities and collective benchmarks, contributing to social cohesion and self-esteem in our globalized world.
The greatest strength of cultural goods and services lies in their dual, economic and cultural nature. This specificity offers a response to the growing demands for more integrated policies, capable of addressing the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development. Culture is not a commodity like any other, and this principle, which is internationally recognized by the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted in 2005, is a guiding principle for forging more innovative and sustainable development strategies.
We have entered a new age of limits – in terms of resources, in terms of the planet – and our response must be to unleash our most powerful renewable resource, human intelligence and creativity. Our cultural diversity is a stimulator of creativity. Investing in this creativity can transform societies. It is our responsibility to develop education and intercultural skills in young people to sustain the diversity of our world and to learn to live together in the diversity of our languages, cultures and religions, to bring about change.
Today, I call on Member States of UNESCO to carry this message to the highest level, to include culture and cultural diversity in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. We must make culture a priority now.
Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
Contribute to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity!
The film illustrates through motion graphics and photographs how the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) invests in creativity to transform societies.
- UNESCO Official Proclamation of 21 May as World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (2002) (PDF)
- Resolution Adopted by UN General Assembly on 20 December 2013 on Culture and Sustainable Development (2013) (PDF)
- Hangzhou Declaration – Placing Culture at the Heart of Sustainable Development Policies (2013) (PDF)
- Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001) (PDF)
- Recommendation Concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace (PDF)
UNESCO'S CULTURAL CONVENTIONS
- Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005)
- Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)
- Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001)
- Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972)
- Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970)
- Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954)
UNESCO in action
BREAKING BARRIERS THROUGH DANCE
Fifth international festival with representatives from Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, the Republic of Moldova and other countries for cultural exchanges and the renaissance of artistic abilities
EMBRACING DIVERSITY AND PROMOTING CULTURAL DIALOGUE IN IRAQ
INTERNATIONAL BANNER ART EXHIBITION
20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SLAVE ROUTE PROJECT
WORLD HERITAGE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
PARIS 1ER FESTIVAL ON CULTURAL DIVERSITY,
UNRIC and GoodPlanet Foundation present...
Yann Arthus-Bertrand's '7 billion Others'
6,000 interviews filmed in 84 countries to portrait humanity today
Sustainable development is both about biological and cultural diversity!
In partnership with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, UNESCO invites everyone to join the “Do ONE Thing for Diversity and Inclusion” campaign.
Join the celebration!
Parents, showcase the traditional stories from your culture and use them as bed-time stories to enchant your children!
Learn a new language with a native speaker of your community and practice it with him/her regularly!
During your trip to a new country, go off the beaten track, mingle with the locals and discover things about their culture that the tour-guide is ignorant of!
Propose to your cities to organize festivals dedicated to their cultural minorities and featuring their gastronomy, dances, music, literature, costumes.
Invite music schools to give concerts with multicultural music that combine tradition with foreign influence.
Invite artists who lived in a different country of their own to give interviews, explaining the positive influence their “hosting” culture has had on their work and artistic evolution.
Teachers, encourage your students to become pen-pals with students from different geographic and religious backgrounds or through social media to discuss their experiences, differences and things they have in common.
Dedicate a class on how cultures have influenced one another: a Chinese proverb can also be found in the Arabic tradition; backgammon is also played in Iran and Greece and tattoos are used in South America and Africa.