IMC at UNESCO congress on culture and development

May 15-17, IMC President Frans de Ruiter, attended the International Congress 'Culture: Key to Sustainable Development' in Hangzhou, China.


The congress was organised by UNESCO with the support of the Government of the People's Republic of China and Hangzhou Municipal Government. This was the first International Congress specifically focusing on the linkages between culture and sustainable development organized by UNESCO since the Stockholm Conference in 1998. As such, the Congress provided the very first global forum to discuss the role of culture in sustainable development in view of the post-2015 development framework, with participation of the global community and the major international stakeholders.


For more details see the Congress website.


The Congress examined the multifaceted role of culture in achieving sustainable development goals and aimed to influence the inclusion of culture in the post-2015 global development framework.


The Hangzhou Declaration: Placing Culture at the Heart of Sustainable Development Policies is a key outcome of the conference. The Declaration is now available from UNESCO's website.

Calling for a new approach toward sustainable development, the 'Hangzhou Declaration' advocates for placing culture at the heart of public policy. The Declaration urges governments, civil society and the private sector to harness the power of culture in addressing the world's most pressing developmental challenges, such as environmental sustainability, poverty, and social inclusion.

Some key networks participating in the Congress advocated for the inclusion in the Declaration of a recommendation that there be a specific goal for culture in the future UN development agenda. The final words of the Declaration are as follows:

"...We, the participants, share in the ideals of "Diversity in Harmony" and "Harnessing the Past to Create the Future" expressed by our Congress; We commit ourselves to developing action plans based on this Declaration and to working together for their implementation towards 2015 and beyond; We believe that the integration of culture into development policies and programmes will set the stage for a new era of global development;

We recommend, therefore, that a specific Goal focused on culture be included as part of the post-2015 UN development agenda, to be based on heritage, diversity, creativity and the transmission of knowledge and including clear targets and indicators that relate culture to all dimensions of sustainable development."

At the same time, IMC advocated successfully for the inclusion of education in the text of the Declaration.

To download the Declaration, please click here.


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