The promotion of cultural diversity can be considered a UNESCO cultural priority. For cultural diversity to be productive, it has to be based on people's mutual interest, acceptance of another's culture, as well as dialogue and mutual spiritual enrichment. These are the cornerstones of building peace in the minds and hearts of people. Thus, it is human relationships that guarantee the richness and diversity of cultures.
By accepting the 2001 UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the member states reaffirmed their commitment to cultural diversity, which is a source of development "as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature." They also strongly rejected the postulate that conflicts between cultures and civilizations are inevitable.
UNESCO is at the forefront of international efforts to protect heritage. Adopted in 1972, the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is based on the fact that certain cultural and natural heritage values are of exceptional interest to the whole world and therefore should be considered part of the world heritage of all mankind. While fully respecting the sovereignty of the states where cultural and natural heritage is located and without prejudice to the property rights provided for by the national legislation in respect of this heritage, the states-parties to the Convention recognize that the protection of world heritage is the responsibility of the international community as a whole.
The adoption of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was an important event for the preservation of the intangible heritage and the promotion of cultural diversity. According to the Convention, the “intangible cultural heritage” means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.
In the modern world, where everything is interconnected, the ability of culture to transform society becomes obvious. Various cultural expressions, whether they are valuable historical monuments, museums, customs or modern art, enrich our daily lives in a variety of ways. The heritage is an inexhaustible source of identity, and it contributes to the cohesion of communities that have been torn apart by staggering changes and economic instability. Creativity, in turn, contributes to building open, inclusive, and pluralistic societies. Together, heritage and creativity lay the foundation for dynamic, innovative, and thriving knowledge-based societies.
UNESCO is convinced that development can be sustainable only with a high level of culture. Long-term results, inclusiveness, and equity in development can only be achieved through an approach based on respect for human rights, mutual respect, and open dialogue between cultures. However, despite its importance, until recently the cultural component had not been taken into account when considering development.
In an effort to ensure that culture takes its rightful place in the development strategies and mechanisms, UNESCO works in several directions. In particular, it leads the global campaign for culture and development, works with the international community to develop and implement a clear policy and legal framework in this area, and supports local governments and regional stakeholders in preserving heritage, developing creative industries, and promoting cultural pluralism.
The well-known UNESCO conventions in the field of culture provide a common basis for international cooperation for the whole world and constitute a comprehensive system of cultural management based on human rights and universal values. These international agreements are designed to protect and preserve the world's cultural and natural heritage, including ancient archaeological sites, intangible and underwater heritage, museum collections, oral traditions, and other types of heritage. In addition, they aim to encourage creativity, innovation, and the formation of dynamic cultural spheres.
Shulgan-Tash Rock Art is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2018 in the category "Cultural Property."