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Global cultural networks unites for UN campaign

Thursday, May 22, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Seven major international culture networks signed Declaration for the inclusion of culture in the Post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals, as part of the campaign The Future We Want Includes Culture and presented their case to the UN General Assembly on Monday 5 May, at the debate on ‘Culture and Sustainable Development in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’.

The press announcement made by International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies as reproduced below.

Seven major international culture networks, which last week launched the campaign The future we want includes culture will present their case to the UN General Assembly today, Monday 5 May, at the debate on ‘Culture and Sustainable Development in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’.

The campaign, launched on 1 May, calls on governments and policy makers defining the post-2015 UN Development Agenda to ensure that targets and indicators on culture be included as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The ‘Declaration on the Inclusion of Culture in the Sustainable Development Goals’ and website were jointly developed by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA), Agenda 21 for Culture, the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD), Culture Action Europe, Arterial Network, International Council on Monuments and Sites and the International Music Council, together with many other cultural organizations. Already more than 400 organisations and individuals - artists, cultural leaders from the arts and heritage sectors, national and local governments, and cultural networks - from over 75 countries across all continents have signed the declaration.

The declaration, to be presented to the UN General Assembly today, was prompted by major concerns that the next set of goals for development, the SDGs, which are being developed now by the UN and likely to be in draft form by mid-2014, would not recognise the contribution that culture makes to the achievement of development.

“The word ‘culture’ was completely absent from the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ adopted in 2000 and it would be a disaster for this to happen again”, said Charles Vallerand, Secretary General of the IFCCD, speaking on behalf of campaign organisers and declaration signatories.

“No one doubts great progress has been achieved . However, time and again, we have seen development initiatives hindered or prove unsustainable due to a lack of recognition and respect for local cultures. We strongly believe in the need for a human-rights based approach to development and are calling on world leaders to recognize that development is in itself an act of culture that impacts on the culture of its intended beneficiaries. Putting people first is recognizing the unique transformative power of culture. Development will have been truly achieved when all citizens can participate in and enjoy the music, dance, literature, visual representations, heritage and all other expressions of the arts and culture of their own community and beyond”.

“Global expenditure on development over the next 15 years will be defined by the next set of SDGs 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 enabler of sustainable development”, Mr Vallerand added.

Over the past 12 months, the UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals has held 10 working sessions. On 23 April, the OWG’s co-chairs released the latest draft list of goals that contains 16 ‘focus areas’ with targets and indicators to be discussed at the OWG 11th session on 5-9 May. Culture is again virtually absent from that document.

For further information contact: Charles Vallerand, IFCCD, Montreal Canada +1 514-277-2666 or one of the seven networks listed over. 

Background information:

In an article on the challenges of building on the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals, the Economist reported that nearly 1 billion people have been taken out of extreme poverty of $1.25 a day in 20 years.

In September 2013, four of the networks involved in this campaign submitted to the UN a document, ‘Culture as a Goal in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’, which outlined the justification for a goal for culture and put forward several targets and indicators. Since then many other culture networks and concerned individuals have joined the campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

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