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As the spread of globalization coincides with the rapid growth of complex new technologies, the communication of ideas, knowledge and information has completely changed. Culture, information and communication have become inexorably linked as we work to create a world in which everyone can freely create, share information and knowledge and be empowered to improve their quality of life and achieve their full potential. Traditional cultures, language, and heritage are fundamental in creating an environment for learning. Cultural and linguistic diversity is based, among other things, on the freedom of information and expression and the right of everyone to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, at all levels. Traditional communications media, libraries and archives, and information and communication technologies (ICT) play an important role in preserving and enhancing the world's cultures and languages.
By adopting the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in 2001, Member States reaffirmed their conviction that cultural diversity is one of the roots of global development. UNESCO is working on diverse fronts to implement the principles and action plan of the Declaration,which aims to promote dialogue among cultures and civilizations UNESCO is also in the vanguard of international efforts to identify and protect cultural heritage. Historic buildings, locations, and sites, artworks and artifacts reflect one dimension of our shared heritage, but a tremendous wealth of cultural expression is also found in the form of intangible heritage. Languages, customs and traditional skills play an important role in helping us discover who we are and where we have come from.
Traditional rural societies and cyberspace are part of the same world. UNESCO focuses on the human dimensions of the growing gap between those who have ready access to information in all its forms and the millions of people who lack the skills and tools to take advantage of this expanding wealth of knowledge. The Organization works to create opportunities to give disadvantaged groups and isolated and rural communities access to the tools which will open up new horizons for the progress and exchange of knowledge, education and training, and for the advancement of creativity and intercultural dialogue.
Canada's leadership in areas such as cultural diversity, heritage preservation, and illicit traffic in cultural property makes it a key player in UNESCO's work to safeguard and support cultural identity. Canadian expertise in the archives, library and ICT sectors, coupled with this country's ongoing commitment to freedom of expression and the free flow of ideas and knowledge, make it an invaluable partner in UNESCO's work to preserve universality, diversity and dignity.
For more information on UNESCO's projects and initiatives in the field of Culture visit the Culture Section of the UNESCO web site.
For more information on UNESCO's projects and initiatives in the fields of Communication and Information visit the Communication and Information Section of the UNESCO web site.
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