| ||Le Delta pour l'UNESCO|
Promouvoir la diversité
Mobiliser les forces vives
Trois notions fondamentales sous-tendant le mandat et la stratégie de l'UNESCO.
Pour les réunir en une seule idée, on peut avoir à l'esprit l'image métaphorique d'un "delta" qui symbolise le rôle catalytique et mobilisateur d'énergies de l'UNESCO pour concourir à la paix en favorisant le développement humain, le pluralisme culturel et le partage du savoir, dans le respect de la diversité des peuples.
En vue de renforcer son identité visuelle, l'UNESCO a adopté l'idée créative du 'delta' exprimée par les deux traits se croisant sous le logo comme dans la bannière de cet écran, et l'applique dorénavant à toutes ses productions (publications, sites internet, etc.). Les variations de couleurs et de visuels traduisent la diversité et la créativité que l'UNESCO entend promouvoir.
First coined to designate the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet circa 1200, Delta (∆) is a signifier practically as old as language itself, with origins in Phoenician up through the history of Greek and Latin to Middle English and other Indo-European languages. Based on the resemblance between the island formed by sediment at the mouth of a river and the triangular shape of the letter delta, it was first used around 1555 in English in reference to the Nile River Delta. And today, the river delta retains all its original significance, evoking for people world-wide an understanding of all that flows towards a goal - fertility, bio-diversity, co-operation, spontaneous organisation - like fluid communication, to be deposited in the rich alluvial planes of mutual comprehension.
Water is as fundamental to life as the desire to know and communicate. We need water in the same essential way we need to understand and be understood. As with all communication, where a residue of understanding is left behind, rivers connect people, carry diversity and regeneration, constructing their delta, the abundant fertile sediment at the point where the rivers coalesce and merge with the sea, the universal and common body of water and commerce.
Major deltas exist on every continent and in practically every civilisation: the Nile, the Ganges, the Yangtze and Pearl River, the Rio Grande, the Mekong, the Mississippi, the Niger, the Mackenzie, the Po and the Danube (the latter two, in fact, are classified in UNESCO's world heritage programme).
The delta is as real as it is mythical. While in our collective memory the delta is a symbol of original cultures and a crucible of civilisation, in today's world it also brings forth images of poverty and people subjected to the furies of natural catastrophes. The delta is one of the "nether" lands in which much of humanity is still forced to survive. It reminds us of the work remaining before all humans can truly be said to benefit from 5,000 years of civilisation. The delta's destructive powers are not a fatality. They are challenges to our sense of governance and plain human decency.
...and organizational mode
The delta is now used by UNESCO, for publishing purposes, as a means for organising both editorial content and graphics. The triangle is one of humanity's strongest forms, evoking such diverse concepts as the trinity (faith), the pyramid (architecture), the basis of logic (geometry and mathematics), reason (dialectics), science (physics), etc. Our use of the delta will tend towards a horizontal vector, avoiding hierarchy and suggesting emanation, dissemination and amplification. From the source of diversity, the delta mobilises and fertilises. Texts will therefore be channelled to flow along these lines, reaching out to distant horizons, seeking new lines of thought, moving upwards and onwards, crossing at critical points, exploring all dimensions.
Graphically, the delta placed within the quadrilateral shape of a page (whatever its format), enables an infinite number of relations and proportions, a constant redefinition of spatial relations. It requires that text and graphics be organised harmoniously, generating a variety of major and minor modes, with a strong exchange of energies in a well-organised, yet open and diverse, field. The graphic planes thus described must coexist in the same environment; they do so in an never-ending shift in balance, describing frontiers and areas of strength. The harmony achieved by both a rational and creative distribution of space, a controlled yet constantly evolving relation, can also be a metaphor for cohabitation and peace.
The delta can also be reversed, allowing for scripts that are read from left-to-right and right-to-left. By adding a slight curve to the lines of the delta, we achieve greater flexibility, a more natural flow, the possibility of adding multiple lines and rounder, more human shapes. We can also play on textures, to achieve rigour or random relations, sharpening or softening the lines to achieve the required effect in relation to content. The upper line, slightly curved, sloping upwards, also evokes positive performance, as in a mathematical graph or a statistical survey.
It therefore suggests UNESCO's role in economic development and growth, positioning education, sciences, culture and communication as essential resources for humanity's material progress. It reminds us that sheer abundance is not a sufficient condition to satisfy the needs of humanity because paradoxically, in the 21st century, the most wide-spread resources on our planet, water and knowledge, will be sorely lacking for the majority of human beings, unless we manage to organise the world more equitably. The ∆ of delta, like the mathematical symbol, is a call for taking into account differences… and making the difference.