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General Assembly

Distr: General
9 November 2001

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Fifty-sixth session
Agenda item 25

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly

[without reference to a Main Committee (A/56/L.3 and Add.1)]

56/6. Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 53/22 of 4 November 1998, 54/113 of 10 December 1999 and 55/23 of 13 November 2000 entitled "United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations",

Reaffirming the purposes and principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, which are, inter alia, to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace, and to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,

Underlining that all Members have undertaken to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,

Reaffirming their commitment to the fulfilment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights/1 as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations and as a source of inspiration for the further promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms - political, social, economic, civil and cultural - including the right to development,

Underlining that all civilizations celebrate the unity and diversity of humankind and are enriched and have evolved through dialogue with other civilizations and that, despite obstacles of intolerance and aggression, there has been constructive interaction throughout history among various civilizations,

Emphasizing that a common humanity unites all civilizations and allows for the celebration of the variegated splendour of the highest attainments of this civilizational diversity, and reaffirming that the civilizational achievements constitute the collective heritage of humankind,

Recalling the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 8 September 2000,/2 which considers, inter alia, that tolerance is one of the fundamental values essential to international relations in the twenty-first century and should include the active promotion of a culture of peace and dialogue among civilizations, with human beings respecting one another, in all their diversity of belief, culture and language, neither fearing nor repressing differences within and between societies but cherishing them as a precious asset of humanity,

Noting that globalization brings greater interrelatedness among people and increased interaction among cultures and civilizations, and encouraged by the fact that the celebration of the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, has underscored that globalization is not only an economic, financial and technological process which could offer great benefit but that it also presents the challenge of preserving and celebrating the rich intellectual and cultural diversity of humankind and of civilization,

Bearing in mind the valuable contribution that dialogue among civilizations can make to an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind,

Recognizing that human rights and fundamental freedoms derive from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person and are thus universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and that the human person is the central subject of human rights and fundamental freedoms and, consequently, should be the principal beneficiary and should participate actively in the realization of these rights and freedoms,

Reaffirming that all peoples have the right of self-determination, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,

Emphasizing that promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression and a collective commitment to listen to and learn from each other and to respect cultural heritage and diversity are essential for dialogue, progress and human advancement,

Underlining the fact that tolerance and respect for diversity and universal promotion and protection of human rights are mutually supportive, and recognizing that tolerance and respect for diversity effectively promote and are supported by, inter alia, the empowerment of women,

Recalling its resolution 55/254 of 31 May 2001, which calls upon all States to exert their utmost efforts to ensure that religious sites are fully respected and protected,

Emphasizing the need to acknowledge and respect the richness of all civilizations and to seek common ground among civilizations in order to address comprehensively common challenges facing humanity,

Welcoming the endeavours of Governments, international organizations, civil society organizations and countless individuals to enhance understanding through constructive dialogue among civilizations,

Welcoming also the efforts of the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations and of the Group of Eminent Persons established by the Secretary-General,

Expressing its firm determination to facilitate and promote dialogue among civilizations,

Proclaims the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations:

A. Objectives, principles and participants

Article 1

Dialogue among civilizations is a process between and within civilizations, founded on inclusion, and a collective desire to learn, uncover and examine assumptions, unfold shared meaning and core values and integrate multiple perspectives through dialogue.

Article 2

Dialogue among civilizations constitutes a process to attain, inter alia, the following objectives:

  • Promotion of inclusion, equity, equality, justice and tolerance in human interactions;

  • Enhancement of mutual understanding and respect through interaction among civilizations;

  • Mutual enrichment and advancement of knowledge and appreciation of the richness and wisdom found in all civilizations;

  • Identification and promotion of common ground among civilizations in order to address common challenges threatening shared values, universal human rights and achievements of human society in various fields;

  • Promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and enrichment of common understanding of human rights;

  • Development of a better understanding of common ethical standards and universal human values;

  • Enhancement of respect for cultural diversity and cultural heritage.

Article 3

Pursuit of the above-mentioned objectives will be enhanced by collective commitment to the following principles:

  • Faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small;

  • Fulfilment in good faith of the obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;/1

  • Respect for fundamental principles of justice and international law;

  • Recognition of diversified sources of knowledge and cultural diversity as fundamental features of human society and as indispensable and cherished assets for the advancement and material and spiritual welfare of humanity at large;

  • Recognition of the right of members of all civilizations to preserve and develop their cultural heritage within their own societies;

  • Commitment to inclusion, cooperation and the search for understanding as the mechanisms for the promotion of common values;

  • Enhancement of participation by all individuals, peoples and nations in local, national and international decision-making processes.

Article 4

Dialogue among civilizations provides important contributions to progress in the following areas:

  • Promotion of confidence-building at local, national, regional and international levels;

  • Enhancing mutual understanding and knowledge among different social groups, cultures and civilizations in various areas, including culture, religion, education, information, science and technology;

  • Addressing threats to peace and security;

  • Promotion and protection of human rights;

  • Elaboration of common ethical standards.

Article 5

Participation in dialogue among civilizations shall be global in scope and shall be open to all, including:

  • People from all civilizations;

  • Scholars, thinkers, intellectuals, writers, scientists, people of arts, culture and media and the youth, who play an instrumental role in initiation and sustainment of dialogue among civilizations;

  • Individuals from civil society and representatives of non-governmental organizations, as instrumental partners in promoting dialogue among civilizations.

Article 6

Governments shall promote, encourage and facilitate dialogue among civilizations.

Article 7

Regional and international organizations should take appropriate steps and initiatives to promote, facilitate and sustain dialogue among civilizations.

Article 8

The media has an indispensable and instrumental role in the promotion of dialogue among civilizations and in the fostering of greater understanding among various civilizations and cultures.

Article 9

The United Nations should continue to promote and strengthen the culture of dialogue among civilizations.

B. Programme of Action

1. States, the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, are invited to consider the following as a means of promoting dialogue among civilizations in all domains, within existing resources and also drawing upon voluntary contributions:

  • Facilitating and encouraging interaction and exchange among all individuals, inter alia, intellectuals, thinkers and artists of various societies and civilizations;

  • Promoting of mutual visits and meetings of experts in various fields from different civilizations, cultures and backgrounds, which provide an opportunity for discovering commonalities among various civilizations and cultures;

  • Exchange of visits among representatives of the arts and culture and the organization of cultural festivals through which people will have a chance of getting acquainted with other cultures;

  • Sponsorship of conferences, symposiums and workshops to enhance mutual understanding, tolerance and dialogue among civilizations;

  • Planning sports competitions, Olympiads and scientific competitions, with a view to encouraging positive interaction among youth from different backgrounds and cultures;

  • Reinvigorating and encouraging translation and dissemination of basic manuscripts and books and studies representing different cultures and civilizations;

  • Promotion of historical and cultural tourism;

  • Incorporation of programmes to study various cultures and civilizations in educational curriculums, including the teaching of languages, history and socio-political thoughts of various civilizations, as well as the exchange of knowledge, information and scholarship among academia;

  • Advancement of research and scholarship to achieve an objective understanding of the characteristics of each civilization and the differences, as well as ways and means to enhance constructive interaction and understanding among them;

  • Utilization of communication technologies, including audio, video, printed press, multimedia and the Internet, to disseminate the message of dialogue and understanding throughout the globe and depict and publicize historical instances of constructive interaction among different civilizations;

  • Provision of equitable opportunities for participation in the dissemination of information, with a view to achieving an objective understanding of all civilizations and enhancing constructive interaction and cooperative engagement among civilizations;

  • Implementation of programmes to enhance the spirit of dialogue, understanding and rejection of intolerance, violence and racism among people, particularly the youth;

  • Utilizing the existence of migrants in various societies in bridging the gap of understanding between cultures;

  • Consultation to articulate effective mechanisms to protect the rights of all people to maintain their cultural identity, while facilitating their integration into their social environment.

2. States should encourage and support initiatives taken by civil society and non-governmental organizations for the promotion of dialogue among civilizations.

3. States, international and regional organizations and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, are invited to develop appropriate ways and means at the local, national, regional and international levels to further promote dialogue and mutual understanding among civilizations, and to report their activities to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

4. Governments, funding institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector are invited to mobilize the necessary resources to promote dialogue among civilizations, including by contributing to the Trust Fund established by the Secretary-General in 1999 for that purpose.

5. The United Nations system, including, in particular, the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, are invited to continue to encourage and facilitate dialogue among civilizations and formulate ways and means to promote dialogue among civilizations in the activities of the United Nations in various fields.

6. The Secretary-General is requested to report to the General Assembly at its sixtieth session on the implementation of this Global Agenda and Programme of Action.

43rd plenary meeting
9 November 2001