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UNESCO Inter-Agency Platform
Culture for Sustainable Development

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UNESCO Inter-Agency Platform on Culture for Sustainable Development

In May 2021, UNESCO launched the Inter-agency Platform on Culture for Sustainable Development (IPCSD) building on its global and specialized mandate in culture.  

The platform aims to federate efforts, strengthen collaboration, and maximize coherence of related UN-wide action on harnessing culture’s contribution for sustainable development across the UN System. It also seeks to showcase other international intergovernmental partners that contribute to the same effort.

Whilst the world is experiencing a global health emergency, the United Nations system is urged to strengthen cooperation across its entities, echoing the purpose and vision of the UN reform, to tackle the multifaceted and long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The purpose of international cooperation in the twenty-first century is to achieve a set of vital common goals on which our welfare, and indeed survival, as a human race depend. Notably, we need to improve the protection of the global commons and the provision of a broader set of global public goods, those issues that benefit humanity as a whole and that cannot be managed by any one State or actor alone […] it is high time for Member States, together with other relevant stakeholders, to devise strategies […] through enhanced multilateral governance of global commons and global public goods.

“Our Common Agenda”, Report of the United Nations Secretary-General

As we enter the last Decade of Action for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – marked by the multidimensional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the urgency of climate change and ever-growing social inequalities – harnessing the multifaceted impact of culture on sustainable development is more important than ever. Although culture has no dedicated stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) within the 2030 Agenda, culture has gained increased recognition for its contribution across the public policy spectrum makes it a powerful enabler in shaping sustainable development pathways. 

Culture pervades all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Culture has a clear impact on the achievement of critical SDGs notably quality education (SDG 4) through cultural and artistic education in both formal and informal settings as well as technical and vocational education and training in the cultural sector; decent work and economic growth (SDG 8) by supporting job creation in the creative economy; reduced inequalities (SDG 10) by fostering social inclusion within communities including vulnerable groups; sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) by strengthening the resilience and social fabric of urban areas; or climate action (SDG 13) through innovative and community-based adaptation and mitigation solutions. 

Culture should no longer be considered as a policy domain in isolation from other policy areas, but rather as a transversal dimension of public policies. It is our hope that this Inter-Agency platform will promote the mainstreaming of culture within the sustainable development agenda towards 2030 and beyond. In this final Decade of Action, we must commit to concrete actions, call for evidence-based policies, and coordinate across UN, national and regional actors to better deliver together and to build back better.

Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO

The main objectives of the UNESCO Interagency Platform are to: 

▶   Strengthen the relevance, efficiency and cohesiveness of international and regional cooperation strategies and actions in areas that are relevant to culture
▶   Facilitate interagency dialogue, joint actions, and new perspectives on culture and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 
▶   Federate efforts in supporting countries in their respective policies at the national level to inform and strengthen cultural policies 
▶   Strengthen advocacy efforts and on the role of culture for the achievement of the SDGs

Working Modalities

The work of the Platform will be structured around three transversal thematic areas, focusing respectively on reducing inequalities, climate action and dialogue and peace, cutting across the different domains of culture while also reflecting core components of culture’s contribution to the SDGs. Working sessions will be organized through thematic workshops. 

Contact: IPCSD@unesco.org

IPCSD Timeline

IPCSD Resources

In a collaborative approach, the UNESCO Inter-Agency Platform on Culture for Sustainable Development also aims at highlighting efforts, research, analysis and initiatives led by respective UN entities. This Section reflects the diversity and density of resources that contribute to the global reflection on the contribution of culture to sustainable development, in particular in the context of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals through culture.

Access Resources

IPCSD Reference Documents