Held every year on 21 May, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development celebrates not only the richness of the world’s cultures, but also the essential role of intercultural dialogue for achieving peace and sustainable development. The United Nations General Assembly first declared this World Day in 2002, following UNESCO’s adoption of the 2001 Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, recognizing the need to “enhance the potential of culture as a means of achieving prosperity, sustainable development and global peaceful coexistence.”
With the adoption in September 2015 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations, and the Resolution A/C.2/70/L.59(link is external) on Culture and Sustainable Development adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2015 , the message of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is more important than ever. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals can best be achieved by drawing upon the creative potential of the world’s diverse cultures, and engaging in continuous dialogue to ensure that all members of society benefit from sustainable development. The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is an occasion to promote culture and highlight the significance of its diversity as an agent of inclusion and positive change. It represents an opportunity to celebrate culture’s manifold forms, from the tangible and intangible, to creative industries, to the diversity of cultural expressions, and to reflect on how these contribute to dialogue, mutual understanding, and the social, environmental and economic vectors of sustainable development.
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development has pointed out that;“Although COVID-19 has not succeeded in curbing dialogue among cultures, the long-term consequences of the crisis, especially in economic terms, might inflict severe damage on diversity, as periods of crisis are conducive to concentration and standardization. It is this insidious threat that looms.”