Director-General launches World Report on Cultural Diversity

On 20 October 2009, in the margins of the 35th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, the Organization’s Director-General, launched the UNESCO World Report, Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue*.

The Director-General elect, Madam Irina Bokova, was also present at the launch, along with Mr Marcio Barbosa, the Deputy Director-General, Madam Françoise Riviere, Assistant Director-General for Culture, Mr Jean-Pierre Guingané, a Member of the Advisory Committee for the World Report, and Prof Will Kymlicka, whose paper, ‘The rise and fall of multiculturalism? New debates on inclusion and diversity in human development’ had contributed to the Report’s preparation.

In introducing the Report, the Director-General placed emphasis on key characteristics such as its intersectorality and its forward outlook, noting that “As strongly affirmed in the 2001 UNESCO Universal Declaration, cultural diversity is not limited to tangible and intangible cultural heritage, but encompasses creativity and pluralism in all dimensions of our societies.” He also recalled its policy orientation, encapsulated in ten recommendations covering all UNESCO’s fields of competence, which “provide the basis for further discussion by the Organization’s governing bodies” was also crucial, “because the ultimate value of the report lies in what happens next.”

“As we all know, the libraries of international organizations are collapsing under the weight of the number of reports that purport to ‘take stock’ of a given question, only to be forgotten once closed. While this World Report and its statistical annex features many phenomena, experiences and good practices that make up a valuable compendium of cultural diversity expressions today, its true ambition is not to provide definitive solutions to selected questions, but to open the way for new questioning, exploring new subjects and stimulating future research,” underscored the Director-General.

Mr Matsuura said he was confident that the report would make a “powerful contribution to discussions during the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, 2010, for which UNESCO will play a leading role under the guidance of Madam Bokova.” ”Since its creation over six decades ago, UNESCO has pursued the high road of mutual understanding and peace building. … [This Report] constitutes a new marker along that road, building on the work of the past decade, Today is the time to appropriate this valuable tool in our on-going quest for a sustainable and harmonious tomorrow. I am therefore very pleased to commend it to you before the end of my mandate,” he concluded.

For her part, the Director-General elect welcomed the World Report as evidence of UNESCO’s capacity to undertake large scale intersectoral projects in close collaboration with Member States, civil society and academia in its work to promote the circulation of ideas, new policies and the exchange of good practices in its fields of competence, underscoring the need to develop intercultural competencies to better facilitate dialogue among peoples of different cultural backgrounds; the plurality of our cultural identities; the links between cultural diversity and sustainable development; and the need to reaffirm universality in governance, in the construction of a sustainable future.

  • Auteur(s):La Porte-parole
  • Source:Flash Info N° 211-2009
  • 23-10-2009
Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific