"Culture: Key to Sustainable Development": UNESCO Congress of Hangzhou

The International Congress "Culture: Key to Sustainable Development" will be held in Hangzhou (China) from 15 May to 17 May 2013. This is 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 will provide 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.

A high level delegation of UCLG will be present in Hangzhou. Our message will focus in the following key points:

  • The new development agenda post-2015 should be one (integrating all processes), and universal at the same time that it recognizes differentiated responsibilities. It should acknowledge local and regional governments as a specific sphere of government and as key actors of development building on their proven contribution to innovative solutions addressing global and local challenges.
  • The development agenda post-2015 should include an explicit reference to culture as fourth pillar of sustainable development. Culture is about creativity, heritage, knowledge and diversity. These values are intrinsically connected to human development and freedoms. These values are being recognised as the cultural dimension (or the fourth pillar) of sustainable development at local, national and international level.
  • The new Development Goals should be limited in number, very concise and simple, integrating the fundamental principles of sustainable development (human rights, equality and sustainability), based on measurable indicators and reinforcing the commitment to cooperation. In this respect, we support that a specific goal on “culture and sustainable development” is agreed, and several targets and measurable indicators on creativity, heritage, knowledge and diversity are designed. This proposed Development Goal would aim at enlarging people’s capability to “lead the lives they have reason to value” through full participation in cultural life.
  • All actors concerned by the relation between culture and sustainable development should work more closely together. An alignment of strategies and the implementation of effective advocacy and lobby actions should be promoted among key international organisations, nations, cities and civil society actors.

Should you require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat of the Committee: coordination@agenda21culture.net.