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Culture & Sustainable Development

Powering Culture across Public Policies 

About us

Culture for Sustainable Development

UNESCO, as the UN specialized agency with a global mandate on culture, is engaged in unleashing the power of culture for the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Thanks to its normative action, UNESCO moves the 17 SDGs ahead through its six cultural conventions by driving sustainable impact. Culture provides the necessary transformative dimension that ensures the sustainability of development processes. The integration of culture in development processes, strategies and policies at the national level is already well underway across the broad public policy spectrum, from reducing poverty through jobs, skills and employment in the cultural sector, to strengthening quality education for all and social justice, to providing context-relevant responses to foster environmental sustainability. UNESCO is engaged in providing a comprehensive support to Member States for the design, adaptation and implementation of their public policies by developing mechanisms and tools to document and measure the impact of culture on sustainable development from an integrated and comprehensive perspective. Culture should not be considered as a policy domain in isolation, but rather as a cross-cutting dimension that may foster a paradigm shift to renew policymaking towards an inclusive, people-centered and context-relevant approach.

Forum of Ministers of Culture

Culture in Crisis

In the face of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cultural sector, UNESCO has enhanced its efforts in support of the whole cultural ecosystem

A world without culture is

In the face of the long-term repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cultural sector, UNESCO has enhanced its outreach efforts to the Member States in support of the whole cultural ecosystem. To that end, UNESCO devised a number of mechanisms to strengthen the regular dialogue with the Member States ensuring timely dialogue, data collection, research and analysis based on the information provided through its UNESCO Field Offices and relevant line Ministries of the Member States to develop monitoring tools. These cover the online publication of  the weekly “Culture & COVID-19: Impact and Response Tracker”, the monthly “Culture and Public Policy Tracker”; the production of regular analysis on the integration of culture into the Voluntary National Reports of the Member States on the implementation of Agenda 2030 and its 17 SDGs, building on  UNESCO instruments – i.e. its cultural conventions and related programmes; and rolling out the methodology on the Thematic Indicators Culture I 2030. These tools explore both the immediate impact of the health crisis and examples of how countries around the world are adapting to the situation in the medium and longer term. Since September 2020, the Culture and Public Policy Tracker continues tracking the repercussions of the pandemic on the cultural sector, and more broadly, monitors the role of culture in public policy with regards to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. It highlights developments within national and regional contexts, as well as emerging debates on culture's contribution to sustainable development. 



Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity: Addressing culture as a global public good

Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity – Addressing culture as a global public good offers insightful new data that shed light on emerging trends at a global level, as well as putting forward policy recommendations to foster creative ecosystems that contribute to a sustainable world by 2030 and beyond.

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The African film Industry: trends,challenges and opportunities for growth

For the first time, a complete mapping of the film and audiovisual industry in 54 States of the African continent is available, including quantitative and qualitative data and an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses at the continental and regional levels.The report proposes strategic recommendations for the development of the film and audiovisual sectors in Africa and invites policymakers, professional organizations, firms, filmmakers and artists to implement them in a concerted manner.

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Cities, culture, creativity: leveraging culture and creativity for sustainable urban development and inclusive growth

‘Cities, Culture, and Creativity’ (CCC) provides guiding principles and a CCC Framework, developed by UNESCO and the World Bank, to support cities in unlocking the power of cultural and creative industries for sustainable urban development, city competitiveness, and social inclusion.

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Culture in crisis: policy guide for a resilient creative sector

Through this guide, UNESCO provides practical guidance to policymakers as they fight for the inclusion of the cultural and creative industries in social and economic recovery plans. In order to comply with health and safety measures, and to adapt to new business models, both financial and technical support has been and will continue to be necessary.

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Online Meeting of Ministers of Culture Report

The Report of the Online Meeting of Ministers of Culture, Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cultural sector and public policy response, gathers the Ministers’ reflections on the impact of the health crisis on the cultural sector in their respective countries.

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Culture and Public Policy for Sustainable Development, Forum of Ministers of Culture, 2019

Presented on the occasion of the Forum of Ministers of Culture, this publication – produced in collaboration with subregional and regional intergovernmental organizations – provides an overview of the priorities, trends, and perspectives of cultural policies in the light of the challenges of sustainable development. 

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Culture | 2030 Indicators

The Culture|2030 Indicators is a framework of thematic indicators whose purpose is to measure and monitor the progress of culture’s enabling contribution to the national and local implementation of the Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). The framework of indicators assesses both the role of culture as a sector of activity, as well as the transversal contribution of culture across different SDGs and policy areas.

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World Conference on Cultural Policies: final report

The World Conference on Cultural Policies took place in Mexico City, at the kind invitation of the Mexican Government, from 26 July to 6 August 1982. This conference at ministerial level was convened by the Director-General of Unesco in pursuance of resolution 4.01 adopted by the General Conference at its twenty-first session. The compositionof the conference, which falls into category II of Unesco-sponsored meet- ings, was determined by the Executive Board at its 113th and 114th sessions, in accordance with the provisions of Article 21, paragraph 1, of the Regulations for the General Classification of the various categories of meetings convened by UNESCO. 

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Culture for all peoples, for all times

UNESCO's World Conference on Cultural Policies—Mondiacult—took place in Mexico City from 26 July to 6 August 1982. It brought together ministers and other high officials concerned with their governments' policies in the cultural field.

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