NAM Support to UN initiatives on Cultural Diversity

The United Nations recognizes that Equitable exchange and dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based on mutual understanding and respect and the equal dignity of all cultures is the essential prerequisite for constructing social cohesion, reconciliation among peoples and peace among nations. Achieving cultural competence, embracing diversity and successfully managing issues across diverse populations is a dynamic, ongoing, developmental process that requires long term commitment. As the leading organization of the developed world, the Non-Aligned movement has time and again supported and embraced the measures by the United Nations to promote cultural diversity. NAM recognizes that world today is composed of States with diverse political, economic, social and cultural systems and religions determined by their history, traditions, values and cultural diversity, whose stability can be guaranteed by the universal recognition of their right to freely determine their own approach towards progressive development.
In this context, the movement states that respect for the diversity of such systems and approach is a core value which relations and cooperation among States in an increasingly globalizing world should be based on, with the aim of contributing to establishing a peaceful and prosperous world, a just and equitable world order, and an environment conducive to exchanging human experience. The movement accepts the universality of human rights and social justice, but fiercely resists cultural homogenization. In line with its views on sovereignty, the organization appeals for the protection of cultural diversity, and the tolerance of the religious, socio-cultural, and historical particularities that define human rights in a specific region.
Tehran Declaration and Programme of Action on Human Rights and Cultural Diversity adopted at the Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, held in Tehran, 3 and 4 September 2007 reaffirms the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, underscoring the validity and relevance of the Movement’s principled positions concerning inter alia, development of friendly relations among nations based on equal rights and, the right of all peoples to self-determination, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development, achieving international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character, and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedom for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.
In this context, the Non-Aligned movement has extended its full support to the various initiatives of UN that aim at promoting intercultural exchange. NAM advocates the promotion of dialogue among civilizations and the culture of peace globally, in particular through the full implementation of the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations and its Programme of Action. It is of great significance that in its resolution 68/159 on Human Rights and cultural diversity, the General Assembly acknowledged the role of the above mentioned Tehran Declaration.
Among other UN programs on cultural diversity, NAM has also supported Programme of Action on Culture of Peace through its own initiatives. As one such initiative, on 16-18 March 2010 the Philippines hosted the Special Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation (SNAMMM) with the participation of over 120 foreign delegations. The SNAMMM addressed the existing, new and emerging challenges to the promotion of a culture of peace and development. It also reaffirmed that the common fundamental values contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, and shared responsibility are essential to international relations.
Another UN program that has found active support of the movement is the Forums of Alliance of Civilization. The 2014 Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations was held in Bali, Indonesia – a prominent member state of the movement – in 2014. The Bali declaration sought to address fault lines among societies and communities by reaffirming a paradigm of cultural diversity based on mutual respect, understanding and cohesiveness. NAM has called for strengthening international partnerships and generate ideas aimed at building trust and cooperation among diverse actors and stakeholders in the promotion of dialogue among civilizations while also stressing the need to maintain the intergovernmental status of the UN and all its related entities, and the role of sovereign states as basic guidelines for the mandate of the Alliance of Civilizations.
The Non-Aligned movement has also reaffirmed the importance of the Convention on the protection and promotion of Diversity of cultural expressions by UNESCO, which entered into force in 18 March 2007, as a major contribution to the international community in the definition of a framework of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and has called upon United Nations Member States to consider becoming parties to this Convention.
Through its support to the various UN initiatives on cultural diversity, the Non-Aligned Movement recognizes the importance of respect and understanding for religious and cultural diversity throughout the world, of choosing negotiations over confrontation and of working together and not against each other.

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