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10 / 08 / 2004
The United Nations declares cultural diversity a part of cultural heritage that must be developed by youth

The participants in the first conference of the central program of the World Youth Festival agree that youth must develop their role as receptors and transmitters of multiculturalism as a guarantee for peace in the world.

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The representative of the United Nations Population, Tomás Jiménez, assured today, during the first press conference of the central program of the World Youth Festival, that "intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee for peace and cultural diversity, a part of world heritage and a factor of development that young people have to make possible." Giménez made these declarations at the first session of the conference called "Migration, Cultural Diversity and Youth."

The representative of the UN Population Fund said, "There are 5,000 ethnic groups in the world we have to preserve." He emphasized the importance of immigrants if the economy of countries of origin as well as arrival. According to him, in 2003, immigrants' contribution to the global economy reached 88 billion dollars. Therefore, Giménez called for immigration policies to be "rational, creative, compassionate and cooperative" and for the arrival countries to understand that "immigrants want to integrate while preserving their identity." He highlighted the role of young people in this cultural understanding, because of "young people's curiosity make them take them the best of every culture, and this makes them into bridges of multiculturalism."

Arunabha Ghosh, advisor to the UN office for the Report on Human Development Program, said that, "the clash of civilizations is a fallacy, because societies are not homogeneous and are based on cultural diversity."

Ghosh opened the conference by saying that, "despite border control, mobility continues to increase." Furthermore, of the ten countries that receive the most immigrants in the world, only three are developed countries.

The participants in this first conference of the central program of the Festival agreed that migratory currents are inevitable and that, therefore, we need to learn to manage them more efficiently. In 1960 there were 76 million people living outside their country, while in 2000 that number had risen to 175 million immigrants.