World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 21May

Three quarters of the world's conflict have a cultural dimension. Intercultural dialogues for peacebuilding are essential not only for economic stability but also for emotional, moral, spiritual, and intellectual fulfillment.

World Day for Cultural Diversity and Dialogue was first recognized in the year 2002 through resolution 57/249, following the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in 2001. In 2015, the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution on Culture and Sustainable Development A/C.2/70/L.59. This resolution recognized that cultural diversity and intercultural dialogues help in achieving sustainable development goals.

The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to advance the four goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted on 20 October 2005:

● Support sustainable systems of governance for culture

● Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase the mobility of artists

and cultural professionals

● Integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks

● Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms

Impact of COVID-19 on the Cultural Sector

Cultural events are canceled, cultural institutions closed, community cultural practices suspended, empty UNESCO World Heritage sites, heightened risk of looting of cultural sites and poaching at natural sites, artists unable to make ends meet, and the cultural tourism sector greatly affected… The impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector is being felt around the world. This impact is social, economic, and political – it affects the fundamental right of access to culture, the social rights of artists and creative professionals, and the protection of a diversity of cultural expressions.

The unfolding crisis risks deepening inequalities and rendering communities vulnerable. In addition, the creative and cultural industries (CCI) contribute US$2,250bn to the global economy (3% of GDP) and account for 29.5 million jobs worldwide. The economic fall-out of not addressing the cultural sector – and all auxiliary services, particularly in the tourism sector – could also be disastrous.

Protecting the diversity of cultural expressions is more important than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and magnified the creative industries’ pre-existing volatility. Due to the complex nature of their work, cultural professionals are particularly affected, and lockdown measures around the world directly impact the entire creative value chain.

UNESCO has launched a page that aims to serve as a reference for those seeking to draw inspiration from best practices in the development of appropriate responses adapted to national contexts. UNESCO has also launched a weekly “Culture & COVID-19: Impact and Response Tracker” to provide an overview of the rapidly evolving situation.

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