UN underlines the role of culture in development


Last week, on 12 June, at the United Nations in New York, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr Ban Ki-moon, made these important statements about the role of culture in development.

These statements were part of the introduction to a day-long thematic debate on culture and development convened by the President of the UN General Assembly by H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić . A short report on the debate is here, and the full report is here.

There was a keynote address by Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, a video message by H.E. Mr. Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland and remarks by H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the United Nations High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations and Ms. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator. Ministers of Culture and of Foreign Affairs of twelve countries then spoke as did many other high level government representatives. The afternoon session involved two panel discussions with various international experts.

This debate was just one of various events underway within the United Nations that will influence whether culture is introduced into the future (post-2015) development agenda (through the review of the Millennium Development Goals). The outcome of these deliberations could have a significant impact on public spending on culture.

The next major event takes place in Geneva on 1-4 July when there will be a session of the high-level segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) entitled 'Science, technology and innovation, and the potential of culture, for promoting sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals'. The programme includes nine Ministerial breakfasts and one of these (on 2 July) will be presented by the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, to advocate for culture to be included as a dimension in the development agenda. The Issues Paper for this session, 'Culture and Innovation in the Post-2015 Development Agenda' is here

You can also find extensive resources on UNESCO's website. As UNESCO notes in its briefing documents:
'...what is still missing is a globally agreed and shared recognition that development programmes and strategies at the global, regional and local levels should integrate culture within their goals, indicators and targets. Without such actions, and the giving of related guidance on human capacity-building, the potential of culture to contribute to sustainable development risks being largely untapped in many regions of the world.
'... the major challenge is to convince political decision-makers and local, national and international social actors to integrate the principles of cultural diversity and the values of cultural pluralism into all public policies, mechanisms and practices, particularly through public/private partnerships.'

It is important to ensure that cogent and convincing arguments are heard at the very highest levels in the UN and the member states as to why culture must not continue to be left out of the goals for sustainable development. These messages are also being delivered to the UN and national governments by international networks, city and local governments, and civil society organizations.

We hope you have found this update useful and that together we can influence the outcome of these important deliberations.


Version française

Le 12 juin dernier, aux Nations unies à New York, le secrétaire général des Nations unies, M. Bank Ki-moon, a fait ces déclarations concernant le rôle de la culture pour le développement.

Ces remarques ont été faites en introduction d'un débat thématique d'une journée sur la culture et le développement appelée par le président de l'Assemblée générale des Nations unies, M. Vuk Jeremić . Un court résumé du débat se trouve ici, et le rapport complet ici.

Les participants ont entendu Mme Irina Bokova, directrice générale de l'UNESCO (allocution principale), le président de l'Irlande, M. Michael D. Higgins (vidéo), M. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, le haut représentant des Nations unies pour l'Alliance des Civilisations et Mme Helen Clark, administratrice du PNUD. Les ministres de la Culture et des Affaires étrangères de douze pays ont également pris la parole de même que les représentants de haut niveau de plusieurs gouvernements. La session d'après-midi a pris la forme de deux tables rondes composées d'experts internationaux.

Ce débat n'était qu'un des nombreux événements en cours au sein des Nations unies qui auront une influence sur l'ajout ou non de la culture dans l'agenda du développement après 2015 (par la révision des Objectifs du millénaire pour le développement). Le résultat de ces délibérations pourrait avoir un impact significatif sur le financement public de la culture.

Le prochain événement d'importance se tiendra à Genève du 1 au 4 juillet. Un des segments de haut niveau de la rencontre du Comité économique et social des Nations unies (ECOSOC) se penchera sur la « Science, technologie et innovation et le potentiel de la culture dans la promotion du développement durable et la réalisation des OMD».

Le programme inclue neuf petits déjeuners entre ministres, dont un (le 2 juillet) présenté par la directrice générale de l'UNESCO, Irina Bokova, pour faire le plaidoyer en faveur de l'ajout de la culture à l'agenda pour le développement. Le document de réflexion sur les enjeux pour cette session 'Culture and Innovation in the Post-2015 Development Agenda' se trouve ici.

Vous pourrez également trouver une documentation complète sur le site de l'UNESCO.

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