05.03.2013 - Culture Sector

Presidents of Ireland and Iceland recognize the Contribution of Culture for Development

UNESCO welcomed for the first time at its Paris Headquarters the heads of state of Ireland and Island on 19 and 23 February 2013 respectively. In the meetings Director-General Irina Bokova held with Irish President Michael D. Higgins and Island’s President Olafur Ragnar, discussions focused on culture and, more specifically, the recognition of the power of culture to build peace and development.

The presidents of these two countries, which share UNESCO’s values of equality, respect for human dignity and intercultural dialogue, both underlined the decisive role of culture in sustainable development.

Whether it be viewed from the political, economic or social perspective, sustainable development can only flourish through “a new vision of culture” affirmed the Irish President during his address before the Permanent Delegates. A vision that brings culture in from the margins, to the heart of public policy”

The President of Iceland stressed the economic asset of culture for his country. Culture lies at the heart of Island’s financial. “Culture lies at the core of Iceland’s financial recovery”, as evidenced by the fields of publishing, design and art institutions.

To follow-up on these lines of thinking and UNESCO’s advocacy efforts in this area, the importance of culture to achieve sustainable development will be debated during the Hangzhou International Congress organized in Chine from 15 to 17 May 2013 under the theme “Culture: A Key to Sustainable Development”.

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