About the Indicators


  • A UNESCO research and advocacy initiative that seeks to illustrate with data and measure the contribution of culture to development processes.
  • Aimed at informing and influencing decisions taken by development actors.
  • Through 22 quantitative indicators covering the economic, social participation, governance and institutionality, communication, heritage, education and gender equality dimensions of culture and development, as defined by Our Creative Diversity, the World Commission on Culture and Development Report (1996).
  • Distinct from other indicator models, the methodology assembles and correlates data, providing an evidence-based picture of this policy area where outcomes are difficult to measure.


  • The role of culture for development has emerged as an important policy and strategic issue at international and national levels (e.g. Resolutions 65/166 and 66/208 on Culture and Development adopted by the United Nations General Assembly).
  • To clearly demonstrate this role, indicators and data are necessary and are in great demand.
  • By measuring culture’s impact on development, the CDIS contributes to the implementation of the 2005 UNESCO Convention, in particular its Article 13 (Integration of Culture in Sustainable Development).
  • The time is right. New data has been generated and there is a critical mass of field experience gained from the implementation of culture and development projects.


  • Create a new advocacy and learning tool to explain and highlight how culture supports the achievement of development goals at the national level.
  • Establish a common ground for all development actors willing to integrate culture into development policies and strategies.
  • Help to develop a more inclusive vision of development that takes culture’s potential fully into account and to integrate it in national and international development assistance frameworks and strategies (e.g. National development plans and strategies, PRSPs, CCA-UNDAFs, CAS, NIPs, Joint Assessments).


  • Provide development actors with a tool that demonstrates how culture impacts development.
  • Wide testing of the indicator suite in up to fifteen countries, covering all regions.
  • Consensus building through the participation of national, regional and international experts and development actors in the elaboration of the Suite.
  • Publication and dissemination of a dedicated methodology manual.
  • Strategy of influence to ensure future use of the UNESCO CDIS by national, international and regional development organizations.
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