Culture2015 – Declaration on the Inclusion of Culture

Declaration on the Inclusion of Culture in the Sustainable Development Goals

1 May 2014

We, the undersigned organisations active in the field of culture and development:

Understanding the concept of development to comprise

  1. human development: the pursuit of the full potential of citizens with physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, psychological and cultural dimensions
  2. social development: the building and sustaining of structures, policies and strategies that facilitate and enhance the pursuit of human development, social cohesion and participatory governance
  3. economic development: the creation of wealth and generation of economic resources that can help drive human and social development

Convinced of the unsustainability of

  1. human development without fundamental rights and freedoms and respect for cultural diversity
  2. social development without social justice
  3. economic development that exacerbates inequality and depletes natural resources

Observing that the cultural dimensions of development are too often ignored to the detriment of the achievement of sustainable development – human, social and economic

Recognizing that

  1. culture – understood as an ensemble of values, traditions, tangible and intangible heritage, religious beliefs, worldviews and the expressions of culture in ways of living – can facilitate the achievement of development goals
  2. development – premised on values, worldviews, ideological beliefs, vision etc – is itself an act of culture that impacts, benevolently or adversely, on the culture of its intended beneficiaries
  3. conflicts rooted in economic and power disparities may be fueled by the exploitation of cultural differences, with such conflicts impacting negatively on development through the destruction of infrastructure, social cohesion and human life and the flight of people with expertise

Believing that

  1. strong cultural organizations and participation can play a key role in preventing conflict by promoting dialogue and a diversity of cultural expressions
  2. development means participation in the cultural life of the community and access to the arts as fundamental human rights asserted in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights
  3. as the fourth dimension of sustainable development, culture is as essential as the economic, social and environmental dimensions; and therefore, the safeguarding of heritage, diversity, creativity and the transmission of knowledge are integral to sustainable development
  4. human development thrives on creativity, creative expression, the arts and cultural heritage as means of emotional and psychological catharsis, intellectual stimulation and the exploration, celebration and transformation of the human condition within given circumstances
  5. social development requires creativity, a diversity of creative expressions, the arts and cultural heritage as means of education, social cohesion, intercultural dialogue and the building of national identity
  6. economic development will benefit from capacity building and investment in all aspects of the value chain of the arts, creative industries, and tangible and intangible cultural heritage, by in turn creating jobs and generating income

Recalling the many United Nations resolutions, international declarations and instruments on culture and sustainable development, as well as the substantial evidence, gathered during the last two decades, of the positive role of culture in development.

Convinced that culture is both a driver and enabler of development and should therefore be integral to Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals based on

  • A vision of the future anchored in human rights and universally accepted values and principles, including those embodied in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and the Millennium Declaration;
  • A focus on issues with the greatest impact on sustainable development and a set of concise goals and targets aimed at realizing the priorities of the agenda;
  • A global partnership for development to mobilize implementation and a participatory monitoring framework for tracking progress and mutual accountability mechanisms for all stakeholders.


Call on governments and policymakers defining the post-2015 UN Development Agenda to ensure that targets and indicators on culture be included as part of the Sustainable Development Goals

in particular (but not limited to) those related to

  • Poverty eradication
  • Education
  • Sustainable cities and human settlements
  • Peaceful and non-violent societies
  • Equality
  • Ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Economic growth

Commit to work together and with international, regional, national and local partners to achieve development policies and strategies that recognize and integrate effectively with the cultural dimensions of development

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

International networks promoting the campaign to include culture in the Sustainable Development Goals

  • IFACCA – International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies
  • Agenda 21 for culture – UCLG’s Committee on Culture
  • IFCCD – International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity
  • Culture Action Europe
  • Arterial Network
  • IMC – International Music Council
  • ICOMOS – International Council on Monuments and Sites

To support this campaign please urgently:

  • Visit and sign this Declaration either as an organisation or as an individual
  • Send this Declaration, or your own message, to your country’s representative at the United Nations (this will probably be via the Minister or Department for Foreign Affairs).  See the list of Permanent Delegates here
  • Circulate this Declaration to your networks and spread the word.

Why is this important?

Global expenditure on development over the next 15 years will be defined by the final goal document to be agreed by UN Member States in coming months. If culture is not mentioned, it will be extremely difficult for countries to elaborate policies and provide funds for projects that rely on culture’s role as a driver and an enabler of sustainable development.

‘Culture’ was completely absent from the Millennium Development Goals document . Don’t let this happen again.

Why is this urgent?

UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) holds working sessions to draft a list of goals, targets and indicators. ulture is again almost absent. The OWG’s draft of the SDGs will be finalized in July 2014.

Please act now and help raise awareness of the UN’s Member States of culture’s vital contribution to sustainable development.

Contact: info@culture2015goal.netThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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