09.02.2012 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Leveraging culture for sustainable development in Nepal

©UNESCO -Women being trained in traditional wood craft in Bhaktapur

Nepal’s development would benefit, if culture as a fundamental component of sustainable development would be part of the global agenda after 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals drive ends, said UNESCO’s Representative to Nepal Axel Plathe yesterday in the “Nepal National Consultation on Post-2015 Development Framework”. The event was jointly organized by the NGO Federation of Nepal and the United Nations Country Team.

Nepal is the first country to organize a national civil society consultation to feed into the UN–led post-2015 consultation process.

In Nepal, culture becomes an increasingly powerful economic driver.  Cultural industries, cultural tourism, the preservation of the rich Nepali heritage and the use of local traditional know-how, for example in arts and crafts, are creators of jobs and revenues and a contributor to poverty eradication strategies.

But the contribution of culture to achieving Nepal’s development priorities is not only economic.  Culture contributes to foster dialogue and social cohesion.  Hence, harnessing the power of Nepal’s cultural diversity, fostering dialogue among its many communities, and using the shared heritage to garner shared values are crucial for building the new Nepal.

There are good foundations for developing a strong national policy framework.  Nepal is state party to the several normative and standard setting instruments in this regard, as the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972 and the UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of 2003.  Others, as the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions of 2005 still need to be ratified.

The conventions are essential tools to better recognize culture as an important contributor to the sustainable development of local communities, peoples and nations, as the UN General Assembly says in its 2011 Resolution of Culture for Development (A/RES/65/166 of 11 February 2011).

The Resolution also requested the Secretary-General to ensure that United Nations Country Teams further integrate and mainstream culture into their programming exercises.


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