Cultural diversity

Cultural diversity

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Cultural diversity represents the different cultures that exist on the planet. Culture means the set of customs and traditions of a people transmitted from generation to generation.

Thus, as representative cultural elements of a particular people stand out: language, belief, values, customs, behavior, religion, folklore, dance, cooking, art, among others.

Thus, what distinguishes one culture from the others are the constitutive elements that consequently make up the concept of cultural identity, that is, the individual belonging to that group identifies with the factors that determine its culture.

Since cultural diversity encompasses the set of cultures that exist, it is these identity factors that distinguish the set of symbolic elements present in cultures, reinforcing the cultural differences that exist between human beings.

Many researchers agree that the process of globalization interferes with cultural diversity, as there is an intense economic and cultural exchange between countries, which often seek homogeneity.

In 2001, it was approved by 185 Member States to "UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity", which represents the first instrument to preserve and promote the cultural diversity of peoples and intercultural dialogue, with diversity being recognized as a" common heritage of humanity ".

Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity

Adapted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization at its 31st Session, 2 November 2001.


Article 1
Cultural Diversity: A Common Heritage of Humanity

Culture takes many forms over time and space. This diversity is inscribed in the unique character and plurality of the identities of the groups and societies that make up humanity. As a source of exchange, innovation and creativity, cultural diversity is as necessary for humanity as biodiversity is for nature. In this sense, it constitutes the common heritage of humanity and must be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations.

Article 2
From cultural diversity to cultural pluralism

In our increasingly diverse societies, it is crucial to ensure a harmonious interaction between people and groups with plural, varied and dynamic cultural identities, and their willingness to live together. Policies aimed at the inclusion and participation of all citizens are guarantees of social cohesion, vitality of civil society and peace. Thus defined, cultural pluralism gives political expression to the reality of cultural diversity. Inseparable from a democratic environment, cultural pluralism favors cultural exchanges and the flourishing of creative capacities that support public life.

Article 3
Cultural diversity as a factor of development

Cultural diversity widens the range of options available to all; It is one of the sources of development, understood not only in terms of economic growth but also as a means to a more satisfying intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence.


Article 4
Human rights as guarantees of cultural diversity

The defense of cultural diversity is an ethical imperative, inseparable from respect for human rights. It implies a commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular the rights of persons belonging to minorities and indigenous peoples. No one can invoke cultural diversity to justify the violation of human rights guaranteed by international law or to restrict its scope.

Article 5
Cultural rights as a framework conducive to cultural diversity

Cultural rights are an integral part of human rights, which are universal, indivisible and interdependent. The flourishing of creative diversity requires the full realization of cultural rights as defined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 13 and 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Everyone should therefore be able to express themselves and to create and disseminate their work in a language of their choice, and particularly in their mother tongue; Everyone should have the right to quality education and training which fully respects their cultural identity. and everyone has the right to participate in the cultural life of their choice and to conduct their own cultural practices, without prejudice to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Article 6
Towards everyone's access to cultural diversity

While ensuring the free flow of ideas by word and image, care must be taken to ensure that all cultures can express themselves and make themselves known. Freedom of expression, pluralism of the media, multilingualism, equal access to the arts and scientific and technological knowledge, in particular in digital form, and the possibility of access by all cultures to the means of expression and dissemination, they are guarantees of cultural diversity.


Article 7
Cultural heritage as a source of creativity

Creation has its roots in the cultural tradition, but flourishes in contact with other cultures. For this reason, heritage in all its forms must be preserved, valued and passed on to future generations as a testimony to human experience and aspirations in order to foster creativity in all its diversity and to inspire genuine dialogue between the cultures.

Article 8
Cultural goods and services: products unlike any other

Given the current economic and technological transformations, which open wide prospects for creation and innovation, particular attention should be paid to the diversity of creative offerings, due recognition of the rights of authors and artists, and the specificity of cultural goods and services which, as bearers of identity, values ​​and meaning, they cannot be treated as mere products or consumer goods.

Article 9
Cultural policies as catalysts for creativity

While ensuring the free circulation of ideas and work, cultural policies should create favorable conditions for the production and dissemination of diverse cultural goods and services through cultural industries with the means to assert themselves locally and globally. It is the responsibility of each State, having due regard to its international obligations, to define its cultural policy and to implement it by whatever means it deems appropriate, whether by providing operational support or appropriate regulation.


Article 10
Building global creative and dissemination capacities

Given the current imbalances in the flow and exchange of cultural goods and services worldwide, it is necessary to strengthen international cooperation and solidarity so that all countries, especially developing and transition countries, can establish viable and competitive cultural industries at national and international level.

Article 11
Partnerships between the public sector, the private sector and civil society

Market forces alone cannot guarantee the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity, which is fundamental for sustainable human development. From this perspective, the preponderance of public policies should be reaffirmed in partnership with the private sector and civil society.

Article 12
The role of UNESCO

UNESCO, by virtue of its mandate and functions, has the following responsibilities:

(a) To promote the incorporation of the principles set forth in this Declaration into the development strategies outlined within the various intergovernmental bodies;
(b) Serve as a reference body and forum where states, international governmental and non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector can come together to jointly elaborate concepts, objectives and policies for cultural diversity;
c) To pursue its normative definition, awareness-raising and capacity-building activities in the areas related to this Declaration that fall within its remit;
d) To facilitate the implementation of the Plan of Action, the main lines of which are attached to this Declaration.