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Culture is a determining factor for the relevance, failure and success of development interventions. Efficient programming cannot anymore ignore that cultural diversity is a reality and an engine for development; furthermore respecting and promoting cultural diversity is also part of an international commitment, as highlighted in the 2001 Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in the related Conventions.

To translate these objectives into a reality at all stages of programme implementation and policy making, UNESCO has developed a practical tool and methodology: the cultural diversity lens.

Simply speaking, the cultural diversity lens is a tool to systematically analyze and evaluate whether programmes, policies and practices do in fact incorporate and promote the principles enshrined in the 2001 Declaration. It guides programme officers and decision-makers in understanding the cultural context in which they operate, identifying gaps and shortcomings of interventions and in identifying alternative programme designs.

To what can one apply the Cultural Diversity Lens?

The lens is a tool that can be used by all programme/project officers and policy designers at all stages of a programme -- planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluating: It can be applied to a broad spectrum of activities;

It is important to note that the use of the lens is NOT restricted to projects relating to cultural activities. Lenses can be developed for all types of programmes and activities.