UNDP Human Development Report 2004: Cultural liberty in today’s diverse world UNDP

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UNDP Human Development Report 2004: Cultural liberty in today’s diverse world  by  UNDP

UNDP Human Development Report 2004: Cultural liberty in today’s diverse world by UNDP
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At a time when the notion of a global “clash of cultures” is resonating so powerfully—and worryingly—around the world, finding answers to the old questions of how best to manage and mitigate conflict over language, religion, culture and ethnicity has taken on renewed importance. For development practitioners this is not an abstract question. If the world is to reach the Millennium Development Goals and ultimately eradicate poverty, it must first successfully con- front the challenge of how to build inclusive, culturally diverse societies.

Not just because doing so successfully is a precondition for countries to focus properly on other priorities of economic growth, health and education for all citizens. But because allowing people full cultural expression is an important development end in itself.Human development is first and foremost about allowing people to lead the kind of life they choose—and providing them with the tools and opportunities to make those choices.

In recent years Human Development Report has argued strongly that this is as much a question of politics as economics—from protecting human rights to deepening democracy. Unless people who are poor and marginalized—who more often than not are members of religious or ethnic minorities or migrants—can influence political action at local and national levels, they are unlikely to get equitable access to jobs, schools, hospitals, justice, security and other basic services.This year’s Report builds on that analysis, by carefully examining—and rejecting—claims that cultural differences necessarily lead to social, economic and political conflict or that inherent cultural rights should supersede political and economic ones.

Instead, it provides a powerful argument for finding ways to “delight in our differences”, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu has put it. It also offers some concrete ideas on what it means in practice to build and managethe politics of identity and culture in a manner consistent with the bedrock principles of human development.



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