Ethical Frameworks

Conference in Indonesia: ‘The Power of Culture as Catalyst in Sustainable Development’

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

bali-conference1New pathways for locating culture as an integral part of sustainable development will be explored and highlighted when a World Culture in Development Forum is held in Bali, Indonesia, on 24-29 November 2013.

The aim of the World Culture in Development Forum is to create a space to discuss, debate and contest established ideas and approaches, and in doing so to recommend:

• new pathways for locating culture as an integral part of sustainable development,
• ethical frameworks for ensuring community engagement and stakeholder benefits,
• qualitative and quantitative cultural indicators for measuring sustainable development, and
• inputs into the framing of Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

It is envisaged that the World Culture in Development Forum will result in strategic initiatives to:

• promote knowledge communities for intercultural, intergenerational and interfaith dialogue,
• further ethical investment and business practices for cultural industries,
• establish clearing houses for people-centred projects and practices, emphasising local knowledge systems, and
• develop conceptual frameworks informing the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Leading international agencies and critical thinkers, notably Nobel Laureates, will challenge the participants on four seminal themes that will form the overarching framework of World Culture in Development Forum 2013:

• Culture, Freedom and Social Sustainability,
• Culture and Economic Sustainability,
• Cultural Convergence in a Global Context, and
• Culture and Environmental Sustainability

Gender mainstreaming, active youth engagement and children of today and tomorrow will be the cross cutting themes woven across the entire Forum. A series of discussions, debates, performances and symposia will be programmed with the participation of experts and practitioners from across the world. An inspirational and leading edge cultural programme will be part of the hospitality spectrum.

The UN General Assembly (2011) has called for a more visible and effective integration and mainstreaming of culture into development policies and strategies at all levels. It is important to note that despite the recent global financial crisis there has been continuous growth and prosperity in the domain of culture among the countries of the South. This is the most significant indicator in considering the paradigm shift from the persistent deficit model of culture in development to an affirmative and empowering approach where creativity, knowledge, culture and technology are drivers of job creation, innovation and social inclusion.

The Common Statement on the Outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) calls for innovative and entrepreneurial ways of moving forward. We have learned from the successes and failures attaining of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is acknowledged that there remains much to be done including ensuring that culture in all its dimensions needs to be integrated more forcefully in development. Culture must become an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the post-2015 Development Agenda.

For more information please contact:
WCF Secretariat, Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia,
Building A, 2nd Floor, Jl. Jenderal Sudirman, Senayan, Jakarta 10270, Indonesia
Tel: +62 21 3611 3104 • email:

Web site:

Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.
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ashdenizen: is climate change a zombie concept?

Kellie Payne reports on the Tipping Point event, held earlier this month, where Mike Hulme suggested climate change was a zombie concept:

as a metaphor it has done its work. As a concept, it connects a large swathe of issues combined through the scientific narrative and perhaps there are other ways to make progress.

Much less the as-billed scientific update, the Tipping Point event held on Wednesday 13th April at Kings College, London was a philosophical exploration of the status of our current conceptualisation of climate change.

Hosted by Tipping Point, the arts organisation that seeks to build bridges between artists and climate scientists, the afternoon featured Mike Hulme, UEA climate scientist and author of Why We Disagree About Climate Change, climate change adaptation specialist Emma Tompkins and Greenpeace’s Senior Climate Advisor Charlie Kronick . In attendance were past Tipping Point conference attendees, a mix of artists, academics and a few scientists.

Hulme is a veteran climate scientist whose career has included serving as the founder-director of the Tyndall centre and contributing scientist to UK climate change scenarios and reports for the IPCC. However, writing his recent book led Hulme to take a more philosophical perspective: his interest being more in the positioning of our larger conceptualisations of climate change and interrogating different epistemological constructions of climate change. Moving beyond the merely scientific understanding of climate change, he investigates how climate change is understood in disciplines varying from economics, ethics, politics and humanities. In particular, he argues that climate change is a value laden concept that reflects our views of the world, nature, the economy and ethical frameworks.

Hulme’s presentation was largely an explanation of the four myths he explores in his book: lamenting Eden which draws on a sense of nostalgia, presaging apocalypse based on a sense of fear, constructing Babel (hubris) and celebrating jubilee which builds upon our sense of justice. In essence, what Hulme argues is that every individual brings their own agenda, applying the challenge of climate change to their own problems, that is, climate change is the raw material that is used to work on our individual projects. Hulme suggested we ask ourselves whether stabilising the climate was indeed our ultimate goal or whether stabilising climate was instead a means to an end, and we were using climate change to achieve our other goals.

Emma Tomkins on the other hand bases her work on a belief that climate change is happening and asserts that the government is leading the way on adaptation. Based at Leeds and the Government’s Department for International Development, Tomkins outlined types of adaptation currently being implemented including risk management policies and attempts to build resilience. When Tomkins asked the audience how many were currently taking adaptive measures, it became clear that the line between what constitutes mitigation activities and adaption is often blurred in the minds of many. The government makes a clear distinction between mitigation measures (limiting ones emissions) and adaption (preparing for the impacts of climate change). For instance when asked about what types of adaptation individuals were taking, some audience members mentioned the work of the Transition Town movements, but from the government perspective Transition Town activities would constitute mitigation measures as their main focus is reducing emissions.

Tomkins conducted an exercise to see how we as an audience would allocate adaptation funds, whether we would base our decisions on: equitable distribution of resources, reward mitigators, help those facing the most exposure, help the most vulnerable, or offer developmental assistance. At the moment, current government policy (Adaptation Policy Framework) is based on risk mapping and awareness and therefore has its focus on those who face the most exposure to risk. Tomkins stressed the need to be aware that in any adaptation policy there are a number of decisions to be made about the type of losses we are willing to take and warned that there is a potential to make serious mistakes unless we seriously consider the issues.

Charlie Kronick weighed in with the activist viewpoint, reminding the audience that in the past adaptation wasn’t even considered because to do so would be to accept defeat. Further, he didn’t see the need to separate out adaptation and mitigation as he sees them as one and the same. For Charlie, climate change isn’t about science, or art, but about power politics, ‘the deal makers and takers’ and inequality is a major driver.

Hulme agreed that it’s about politics and our ambitions about what type of society we want to inherit. Hulme suggested that perhaps climate change was indeed a zombie concept, and as a metaphor it has done its work. As a concept, it connects a large swathe of issues combined through the scientific narrative and perhaps there are other ways to make progress.

Kellie Payne is a PhD student in the Geography department at the Open University researching culture and climate change