The Director-General, United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ms Irina Bokova, has said no nation can achieve sustainable development without cultural diversity, stressing that culture in its diversity can foster a sense of identity and cohesion for societies in times of uncertainty.
This was contained in her message, delivered on her behalf by Professor Hassana Aliyu, at the 2013 World Culture Day Celebration, organized by the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation in collaboration with UNESCO at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on the theme: “Creativity: A Tool for Peace and National Development.”
Irina said culture and cultural diversity may not be part of the internationally-recognized development goals, yet are powerful sources of creativity and innovation, which makes them key accelerators for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Describing the importance of cultural diversity as a wellspring of creativity, dynamism and sustainability, the UNESCO boss called for recognition and support for cultural diversity, stressing that for UNESCO, human ingenuity and innovation remains the most powerful and renewable energies, especially in this new age of limits.
Her words: “At a time of change, we must broaden the debate about development to harness culture’s transformation power. Recognizing and supporting cultural diversity can help to address both the economic and human rights dimensions of poverty and provide creative, cross-cutting solutions to complex issues-from health and environment to advancing gender equality and education for all.”
Maintaining that intercultural dialogue is essential to make the most of diversity, deepen its roots of development and share its benefits, Irina expressed optimism that the growth of the cultural sector and creative industries and the benefits arising from safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage are already indications that culture is a driver of development.
The World Day for Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development is celebrated by UNESCO and its member countries on May 21 every year.