Mr. Alexander Asum-Ahensah, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, on Wednesday asked Ghanaians to appreciate and tolerate one another, regardless of their cultural differences.
"There cannot be development without peace, and there cannot be peace if we do not respect each other's culture," he stressed
The Minister made the request in Accra, when he launched activities to mark the "World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development," on the theme: "Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development."
He observed that although Ghana had more than 50 ethnic groups, the common values of these groups represented the national heritage of the country.
"Each of these ethnic groups have unique cultural features and traditions that give identity, self respect and pride to the people."
He said that since Ghana gained its independence, "we have recognised the need to promote unity within this cultural diversity, and Ghana has enjoyed relative unity, stability and peace."
Mr Asum-Ahensah said the country's history, cultural values and institutions would continue to exercise a "deep" influence on its destiny, and play a key role in governance and national life.
"Indeed, our various cultures contain the elements that have sustained us as a people, and it is through same, that we would continue to thrive as a people," he said.
The Minister said with the approach of presidential elections, "we need to remember that our development must be anchored on the principle of self respect and the need to appreciate one another, which is typical of the country's cultural heritage".
"I do hope that this ideal becomes the universal guiding principle, accepted and practiced by every Ghanaian,” he noted.
Mrs Charity Amamoo, a representative from the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO; said it was note-worthy, that every race and culture might have significant and unique contributions that could uplift the general fabric of the society.
She said Ghana's diverse culture with regard to local governance institutions, religion among other areas, "enjoins us to take advantage of this diversity to improve our lives and the responsibility to protect this rich diverse heritage that God has endowed us with".
As the UN agency with a mandate in culture, UNESCO, through its General Conference on November 2, 2001, adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11.
The declaration reaffirmed the need for inter-cultural dialogue to stem segregation, and fundamentalism.
The following year, 2002, was declared the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage.
In the same year, the General Assembly of the United Nations, on December 20, declared May 21 as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.**