13.07.2013 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Round Table on Culture and Sustainable Development in SIDS

Round Table on Culture and Sustainable Development in SIDS and Post 2015 Agenda took place in Nadi on 9 July 2013. This Round Table was held by UNESCO and UN ESCAP Pacific Centre as Side Event for the Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States (Samoa, September 2014).

Some twenty participants including representatives of Pacific SIDS, civil society organisations, and development partners attended the Round Table. Country delegates made presentations on progress in culture in respective countries.  Representatives of the Pacific Heritage Hub (PHH) and Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) also made reports on the recent developments in their activities in heritage and cultural cooperation.

Then, the Pacific experts who attended the Hangzhou Congress in May 2013 shared their first hand experience in taking part in the Congress and introduced the Hangzhou Declaration (May 2013).  The participants all agreed to the needs of language safeguarding and revitalisation as a region that is home to one-fifths of worlds’ languages, as reflected in the vision of the leaders in the Pacific Plan (2005) “We treasure the diversity of the Pacific and seek a future in which its cultures, traditions and religious beliefs are valued, honoured and developed”. 

The participants took positive note of the Pacific Regional Cultural Strategy (2010-2020) as a coordination tool. The importance of he international standard setting instruments in culture as platform for cooperation was highlighted. 

The outcome statement discussed at the final session draws the attention to the recent shift in Pacific from community based subsistence economy to commercialism and individualism. Although this may be inevitable under the influence of globalisation, the statement is an alert to the adverse impacts on governance and traditional protection systems.  In this context, the outcome statement recognises the importance of integrating culture in sustainable development strategies, considering the fact that development occurs in diverse cultural contexts.  It urges the international community to strengthen support to the culture sector covering heritage and creativity through partnership and cooperation based on shared responsibilities and values. The statement also addresses the needs for development of cultural institutions that provide critical support to the transmission of traditional knowledge in the Pacific.  Such cultural institutions include museums, archives and multimedia centres, and community cultural centres.

The outcome statement was presented at the Preparatory Meeting on the following days.  And the participants confirmed its continuing networking towards the 3rd SIDS Conference in 2014. Final report - Download PDF (Click here)



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