According to a new UNESCO report: "It is urgent to invest in cultural diversity and dialogue"

Cultural Diversity: A resource

Cultural diversity has spread to all the sectors of the economy, from marketing and communication, to finance and business management and has marked one of the most tangible economic shifts. This is one of the conclusions of the UNESCO World Report « Invest in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue », partly funded by Spain.  

A source of change

Cultural diversity develops intercultural skills. It embodies the research for an antidote against withdrawing into closed identities. It opens up new forms of governance. It is a lever for effective practice of universally recognized human rights.

An opportunity

Cultural diversity can reduce world trade balance. On one hand, media and culture industries represent more than 7% of world's GDP (1 300 billion US$, twice the international tourism receipts). On the other hand, the Africa's share remains marginal with less that 1 % of world exports, despite the continent's abundance of resources and talents.


The report is an important instrument for investing in cultural diversity. It makes ten concrete recommendations and thus develops a new dynamic vision of cultural diversity.

Furthermore, it suggests strategies about how to facilitate intercultural dialogue, improve the relevance of educational methods and contents, fight against media stereotypes and facilitate artistic exchange and circulation of artists.   

The report also suggests the creation of a World Observatory on Cultural Diversity, and the implementation of national linguistic policies in order to safeguard linguistic diversity and encourage multilingual competencies.

Key figures

  • There are 6 000 to 8 000 languages in the world, half of which are spoken by less than 10 000 people;
  • Less than 1 % of export comes from Africa;
  • 75 millions children who are not schooled in 2009 come from cultural minorities, indigenous or nomad populations;
  • In 2000, 53 % of Internet users were English-speaking, this figure dropped to 29 % in 2009;
  • Export of cultural facilities and media in the developing countries have increased from 51 to 274 billion USD between 1996 and 2005. This flow prevents hyperconcentration;
  • The craft industry and tourism are an important income resource for developing countries: Over 25 % of GDP for a country such as Morocco;
  • Fair trade has increased rapidly (40 % on average over the past 5 years). 
Back to top