The UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity was adopted unanimously in a most unusual context. It came in the wake of the events of 11 September 2001, and the UNESCO General Conference, which was meeting for its 31st session, was the first ministerial-level meeting to be held after those terrible events. It was an opportunity for States to reaffirm their conviction that intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee of peace and to reject outright the theory of the inevitable clash of cultures and civilizations.
Such a wide-ranging instrument is a first for the international community. It raises cultural diversity to the level of “the common heritage of humanity”, “as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature” and makes its defence an ethical imperative indissociable from respect for the dignity of the individual.