02.07.2019 - UNESCO Office in Brussels

The International Colloquium “Culture for the Future” discussed the role of culture as key driver of development


A decade after the influential symposium “Culture and creativity: vectors of development”, the international colloquium “Culture for the Future” was organized by the European Commission DG DEVCO on the 16th and 17th of June 2019 at the BOZAR in Brussels with UNESCO Director General, Audrey Azoulay, delivering the opening key note speech.

The Colloquium marked a key moment to take stuck and reflect on the future of the European Union’s support to the cultural dimension of development and international cooperation, as well as to discuss how to promote culture, creativity, innovation and dialogue as key drivers of inclusive development and peace.

In her address, Audrey Azoulay highlighted that “cultural and creative industries are one of the most rapidly expanding sectors of the global economy and they can help to improve the lives of citizens and address several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” She indicated that UNESCO had been partnering on innovative ways of responding to the needs of the creative sectors together with the European Union, providing concrete examples of EU-UNESCO projects to explain how to unleash the power of culture to contribute to local sustainable development. Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for DG DEVCO, said that culture was “one of the essential elements of sustainable development”. He highlighted the UNESCO flagship initiative “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” co-funded by the EU to illustrate the importance of protecting culture as the origin of diversity.

Other prominent speakers also shared their ideas on the visions and opportunities of cultural and creative industries.

The discussions during the colloquium were centered on four topics, namely Culture and cultural industries: New opportunities for job creation and inclusiveness, The challenge of financing, Access to markets and mobility of artists, and Digital revolution: Impact and opportunities. In view of fostering social cohesion and reducing inequalities, horizontal issues such as the urban and youth perspective, the dimensions of gender and sustainability, identity building and , as well as intercultural dialogue for conflict prevention and reconciliation were also reflected in the discussions.

At the parallel session dedicated to “Projects sharing and connecting”, Toussaint Tiendrebeogo, Head of Unit at the Diversity of Cultural Expressions entity at UNESCO, presented the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility on the Governance of Culture in Developing Countries for the implementation of the 2005 Convention. Louise Haxthausen, Director of UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels, presented the “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” Initiative and stressed the importance of advocating for the added-value of the protection of cultural heritage to the sustainable development.

At the end of the Colloquium, a Manifesto 2019 – Culture for the Future was endorsed. The document, which outlines priority orientations for culture and development, was presented at the special event “Culture for the future: Creativity, Innovation and Dialogue for Inclusive Development” the day after the Colloquium on the first day of the European Development Days, in Brussels.

The International Colloquium convened more than 400 experts and professionals from all over the globe, including many high-level participants, well-known artists as well as stakeholders from different institutions. For more information about the Colloquium, please visit here.

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