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UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries

Opening Ceremony, Salone dei Cinquecento, Palazzo Vecchio © Antonio Viscido

The UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries – also known as FOCUS - is a platform for bringing various audiences together to share ideas on different topics associated to Culture and Cultural Industries, which vary from one edition to the next one. The Forum’s objective is to illustrate the potential of creativity, innovation and expertise to nourish cultural industries.

The Forum has been conceived in the framework of the high-level initiatives undertaken by UNESCO to ensure that culture is taken into account in international development policies and notably in ongoing negotiations, within the United Nations, to define the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

FOCUS provides a unique opportunity for decision-makers, creators and the private sector to exchange their thoughts on the central role of culture in sustainable development.

UNESCO organized the two previous editions of the Forum in 2009 and 2011, in cooperation with the Italian Government and with the support of the Lombardy Region and the city of Monza. Both gatherings took place at the Villa Reale of Monza and brought together key experts in creativity and cultural industries from all continents.





Programme of the event | List of participants | Speakers | Side Events programme

The third and most recent edition of the Forum took place from 2 to 4 October 2014 in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy and was organized in cooperation with the Italian Government and with the support of the Tuscany Region and the Municipality of Florence.

It brought together governmental decision-makers, representatives of the private sector and civil society, including international experts and academics from all regions of the world, around the theme ‘Culture, Creativity and Sustainable Development. Research, Innovation, Opportunities”.

This international encounter pursued the following objectives:

  • sharing experiences and propose strategic recommendations on the role of culture and cultural industries in promoting sustainable development;
  • showcasing the results of the UNDG Post-2015 Dialogues on Culture and Development; and
  • informing the elaboration process of the Post-2015 Development Agenda of the United Nations.

The Forum was organised in plenary sessions and thematic panel discussions, devoted to the following topics:

  • Culture and Creativity: a Double Commitment to the Future;
  • Cultural Industries, Employment and Growth;
  • Nurturing Culture for the Sustainable Development of Urban and Rural Areas;
  • Innovation, Technology and Know-How for Sustainable Futures;
  • The Power of Culture for Inclusive Societies;
  • New Approaches to Measuring Change;
  • Investing in Culture;
  • Culture and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

In the framework of the Forum, two side events were organized. The multimedia exhibition “Supporting Cultural Heritage through Conflict and Transition: Partnering with Afghanistan” offered the opportunity to showcase fifty years of collaboration between UNESCO, Italy and Afghanistan in favour of the preservation of the cultural heritage of Afghanistan. The Round Table on “Safeguarding Cultural Heritage for Sustainable Development and Peace Building: Success-Stories of Italy-UNESCO Cooperation” allowed, through the dialogue among representatives of Afghanistan, Myanmar, Mali, Jordan and major international experts, to illustrate the concrete results and impact of longstanding cooperation in favour of emergency interventions for the safeguarding of cultural heritage, as well as the role of cultural heritage promotion in long-term economic development.

The Forum resulted in the adoption of the Florence Declaration, a strategic document putting forth the core principles and priorities for culture and cultural industries within the post-2015 development agenda and calling governments, civil society and private sector actors to take action in global partnership to promote creative environments, processes and products.


Previous Editions

FOCUS 2011

The second edition, FOCUS 2011, took place from 6 to 8 June 2011, and was entitled “The Book Tomorrow: The Future of the Written Word”.


FOCUS 2009

The first edition, FOCUS 2009, took place from 24 to 26 September 2009. The theme was “Creativity, Innovation and Excellence: From Crafts to the Design and Fashion Industries”.



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