A project to protect Chinese ethnic minority cultures, jointly funded by the United Nations and the Chinese government, was launched at Beijing on Friday.
The joint project, the "China Culture and Development Partnership Framework", will receive 6 million U.S. dollars from the UN-Spain Millennium Development Goal Achievement Fund and 1 million U.S. dollars from the Chinese government over three years, said Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordinator in China.
The program will cover four provinces and regions: Qinghai, Yunnan and Guizhou Provinces and the Tibet Autonomous Region. It has two aims, which are to support China in designing and implementing policies that promote the country's ethnic minorities and empower those groups to better manage their cultural resources for economic development, Malik said.
The project aims to help ethnic minorities develop in three key areas: education, maternal and child health, and employment. It will also support the development of culture-based tourism and arts and craft and creative industries.
"China's ethnic minority cultures contribute much to the world's cultural diversity. The program is a positive attempt to develop a new mode of ethnic minority cultures," said Yang Jing, minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC).
The project emphasizes the importance in a harmonious society of tolerance and respect for cultural diversity, as well as the promotion of minorities and disadvantaged groups, said Carlos Blasco Villa, Spanish ambassador in China.
"The cooperation between China and the UN will mean further development in many areas, such as culture, education and health, which are included in the program," said Assistant Minister of Commerce Qiu Hong.
The framework brings together several UN agencies, including the UN Children's Fund, the UN Population Fund, the UN Development Program, the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, the UN Industrial Development Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
It will involve close coordination with six Chinese government bodies: the SEAC and the ministries of commerce, education, health, human resources and social security, and agriculture.