A new report, entitled the UNESCO Survey on Intercultural Dialogue 2017, presents the findings of groundbreaking survey developed by the UNESCO Sector for Social and Human Sciences and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

This was the first UNESCO survey on intercultural dialogue conducted among its Member States. It was designed to take stock of the current conceptual understanding, policies, and legislation, as well as available data, resources and main stakeholders in this field.

The results provide unique perspective on country-specific policies on intercultural dialogue. They also offer a point of analysis for monitoring and policymaking purposes. The survey was sent to all 199 National Commissions for UNESCO in six official languages.

Key findings include:

  1. Defining intercultural dialogue: Context is crucial to defining and applying intercultural dialogue.
  2. Policy framework: The majority of respondents (71%) state that an intercultural dialogue policy is in place in their country, while only 38% of respondents confirmed the existence of a definition of intercultural dialogue at national level.
  3. Challenges: Past and present conflicts and violence represent significant and complex challenges to bringing different people together in dialogue.
  4. Enabling factors: An environment based on respect, tolerance and acceptance is essential to enable intercultural dialogue to thrive.

The survey findings underscored the need for stronger data to more effectively mobilize dialogue. In response, UNESCO will be launching a long-term project to create a global body of data to help:

  • Understand the drivers of effective dialogue for enhanced intercultural understanding in order to prevent and resolve conflict and sustain peace;
  • Understand which dimensions of the enabling environments for dialogue are strong and which require support;
  • Identify the types of intervention needed to bolster the effectiveness of dialogue as a standard and an instrument for advancing intercultural understanding to prevent and resolve conflict and sustain peace; and
  • Clarify the contribution of intercultural dialogue to key outcomes such as the prevention of conflict and the promotion and protection of human rights.