On 21 May, the world celebrates World Day forácultural diversity forádialogue and development, launched byáUNESCO iná2001. In 2002, the UN General Assembly proclaimed a resolution onáWorld Cultural Diversity Day forádialogue and development.
This year marks this momentous day foráthe 19th time. This holiday date has taken onáspecial significance inápromoting and preserving culture, intercultural dialogue, and sustainable development. The events onáthis day aim toápromote the importance and value ofácultural diversity and the rich civilizational heritage ofámankind.
It is quite symbolic that ináthe year ofáUNESCO's adoption ofáthe Universal Declaration onáCultural Diversity iná2001, the SCO was established, one ofáthe most important activities ofáwhich is cultural and humanitarian cooperation. Recognizing the need toástrengthen the potential ofáculture, our Organization makes a significant contribution every year toásupport cultural diversity througháprosperity, sustainable development, and global peaceful coexistence.
Today, the SCO unites 18 states, the number ofáwhich reaches more thaná44% ofáthe world's population. The SCO family, which includes various peoples, witháits original culture, is a colorful palette ofáethnic groups, nations, religions, and civilizations, ready foráfurther rapprochement and fruitful cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
Speaking ofáthis cooperation, it is important toákeep inámind that the peoples ofáthe "SCO family" are united byáseveral objective factors that form a solid basis foráthe successful development ofámutually beneficial relations. We are connected byámany historical, cultural points ofácontact, common cultural heritage, common traditions, the similarity ofálanguages and cultures, ethnocultural proximity, good-neighborly relations, and much more.
The humanitarian space ofáthe SCO is connected witháthe names ofáthe greatest thinkers and scientists who have made an invaluable contribution toáworld culture.
In the Ancient and Middle Ages, the geographical area ofáEurasia was one ofáthe most developed ináthe world. Thanks toáthe Great Silk Road, one ofáthe most advanced models ofáeconomic development has been developed ináthe region, and the most advanced cultural policy has been created. Revenues fromáthe operation ofáthe Great Silk Road allowed the countries ofáthe region toáinvest inácultural construction.
Today, every ninth UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed ináthe World Heritage Fund, is located ináthe SCO space.
Currently, ináthe SCO states, alongáwith the important work toápreserve the historical cultural heritage, active activities are being carried outáto revive the pastáintensive cultural contacts betweenáthe peoples ofáthe region, onáthe model ofáhumanitarian communications ofáthe Great Silk Road, toápromote the popularization ofáthe traditions and customs ofáthe peoples living ináthe SCO space. One ofáthe main missions ináthe SCO's activities is consistently and purposefully implementedáŚ strengthening mutual understanding betweenápeoples, cognition and convergence ofátheir cultures and civilizations.
The basis forábuilding such multifaceted cooperation is the SCO Charter, a fundamental document that defines the main areas ofácultural and humanitarian cooperation ofáour Organization. Practical work onáthis area ofácooperation is entrusted toáthe Meeting ofáMinisters ofáCulture ofáSCO Member States, a coordinating and advisory mechanism forácooperation, the functioning ofáwhich is ináline witháthe provisions ofáthe SCO Charter and other documents adopted withináthe Organization.
The results ofápractical cooperation are reflected ináthe documents adopted atáthe annual SCO summits. At the summit ofáHeads ofáStatein 2007 ináBishkek, the Agreement onáCultural Cooperation was signed, and atáthe summit ofáHeads ofáGovernment iná2016in Tashkent, further outlines ofáimproving multifaceted cooperation withináthe SCO, including ináthe field ofácultural and humanitarian cooperation, were identified.
United byáthe "Shanghai spirit", SCO Member States, based onáthe principles ofámutual respect and equal dialogue, fromáyear toáyear intensify practical work ináthe fields ofáculture, education, science and technology, health, sports, tourism, and youth contacts. These aspects ofácooperation will continue toábe an essential part ofáthe Organization's activities and will continue toáserve the goals ofácultural construction ináthe SCO space.
The SCO's expanding cultural and humanitarian cooperation fromáyear toáyear contributes toáthe further deepening ofáinterstate cultural dialogue, ináorder toábring the SCO countries and peoples closer together. A striking example ofáthis is the comprehensive SCO-our Common Home program, which includes the days ofáSCO culture, the cycle ofápiano concerts "Nine Magic Notes", the annual "SCO Marathons" and the "Eight Wonders ofáthe SCO" project aimed atácreating a single tourist space.
The world community is now facing serious challenges related toáa sudden attack called COVID-19. The consequences ofáthe pandemic foráfurther favourable world development are unpredictable and may cause dramatic changes ináthe modern world order. All this further actualizes the value ofáa single human civilization witháthe diversity ofáits forms ofáexistence, the self-identification ofáthe peoples and ethnicities ofáthe world and their responsibility foráits future.
We need toáraise our many voices inádefence ofáthe importance ofáa day ofácultural diversity ináthe name ofádialogue and development. This is the best response and moral support ináthe fight againstáhumanity's most dangerous enemies, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am convinced that, based onáthe rich cultural traditions ofáour peoples, we will be able toáovercome all difficulties and trials together and ináclose cooperation.
More information:áDaily Islamabad Post