NAM Supports UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Non-Aligned Movement has recognised that respect for diverse social and cultural systems is a core value. NAM has reaffirmed that tolerance, acceptance, reconciliation, mutual understanding and respect are fundamental values of international relations and that cultural diversity and the pursuit of cultural development by all peoples and nations are sources of mutual enrichment for the cultural life of humankind and the attainment of human rights for all. In this context, NAM has reaffirmed the importance of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions by UNESCO, signed in 2005 and which entered into force on 18 March 2007.

The objectives of UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions; to create the conditions for cultures to flourish and to freely interact in a mutually beneficial manner; to encourage dialogue among cultures with a view to ensuring wider and balanced cultural exchanges in the world in favour of intercultural respect and a culture of peace; to foster interculturality in order to develop cultural interaction in the spirit of building bridges among peoples; to promote respect for the diversity of cultural expressions and raise awareness of its value at the local, national and international levels; to reaffirm the importance of the link between culture and development for all countries, particularly for developing countries, and to support actions undertaken nationally and internationally to secure recognition of the true value of this link; to give recognition to the distinctive nature of cultural activities, goods and services as vehicles of identity, values and meaning; to reaffirm the sovereign rights of States to maintain, adopt and implement policies and measures that they deem appropriate for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions on their territory and to strengthen international cooperation and solidarity in a spirit of partnership with a view, in particular, to enhancing the capacities of developing countries in order to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions.

The Convention is based upon the principles of sovereignty, respect for human rights and fundamental freedom, recognition of equal dignity of and respect for all cultures, including the cultures of persons belonging to minorities and indigenous people, international cooperation and solidarity aimed at enabling countries, especially developing countries, to create and strengthen their means of cultural expressions, complementarity of economic and cultural aspects of development, sustainable development and finally, equitable access to a rich and diversified range of cultural expressions from all over the world.

Many NAM Member States have framed and adopted appropriate legal, technical, administrative, and financially supportive measures to safeguard and promote the cultural diversity, based on the articles provided in the convention and the operational directives. A few such examples may be mentioned here.

In India, Article 29 of the Indian constitution forebears the principle of Unity in Diversity and states that any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same. Article 29 (2) of the Constitution of India speaks of Cultural and Educational Rights also refer to the protection of interests of minorities and states that no citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.

At the policy level, Ministry of Culture, Government of India has 8 National level Cultural Institutions directly under it and is responsible for 34 Autonomous Organizations. Through these institutions and organizations, the policies, measures and various cultural schemes are implemented at all levels-local, regional, national and international.

In Venezuela, Ministry of Culture, along with the Vice Ministry for Cultural Identity and Diversity, has been created in accordance with the convention.

In 2005, Center for Cultural Diversity was also created. Further, the Venezuela National Assembly enacted on January 5, 2007 a law to approve the “Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions”, confirming the State’s will to ensure that cultural diversity is respected in all its forms.

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