29.11.2013 - UNESCOPRESS

World Culture Forum: Bali Promise calls for Integration of Culture in Post-2015 Development Agenda

Bali, Indonesia ©UNESCO

The Indonesian Government has successfully held the World Culture Forum (WCF) under the patronage of UNESCO in Bali, Indonesia from 23-27 November 2013. The WCF brought together delegates from 45 countries and included over 1000 participants. The overall aim of the WCF was to explore the role of culture as a means to achieve sustainable development. The key results of the WCF have been defined in the “Bali Promise” which seeks to emphasise the importance of culture for development particularly in the formation of the post-2015 development agenda.

The WCF was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Indonesia H.E Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. During his opening remarks H.E Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated “we already have a World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum for critical discussions on globalization and all its aspects. However, we are yet to have a global forum for meaningful dialogues on the importance of culture”. He further added "Strategic changes demand that culture in all its manifestations be championed as an indispensable agent of change and reconciliation in the face of unprecedented globalization." and that the “WCF is designed to complement and strengthen existing initiatives, including those under the framework of UNESCO”.

The Director General (DG) of UNESCO Ms. Irina Bokova also delivered a message by video during the Forum in which she congratulated the leadership of the Republic of Indonesia in hosting te significant event. In her remarks the DG outlined the extensive work UNESCO is doing in the field of culture for development while emphasizing that “culture is who we are. It shapes what we do and how we see the world. It is also a force for dialogue, for building bridges of respect and mutual understanding between people and communities, “and that “there can be no full ownership, no full participation of development strategies without the full integration of culture."

Plurality of cultural identity is the key to human progress. This was the essence of an inspirational keynote speech delivered by Dr Amartya Sen, who won the Nobel Prize in economic sciences in 1998. He added: "We have to save globalization from being exploited for the cultivation of divisiveness and inter-group hostility,..., and instead draw on global cultural interactions to advance our future, even as we admire the past.

A key element of the Forum’s programme was six themed symposia that brought together experts to discuss and debate issues around culture for sustainable development. The themes of the symposium included ‘Holistic Approaches to Culture in Development’, ‘Civil Society and Cultural Democracy’, ‘Creativity and Cultural Economics’, Culture in Environmental Sustainability’, Sustainable Urban Development ‘ and ‘Inter-Faith Dialogue and Community Building’. 

The World Culture Forum converged to the Bali Promise, a set of 10 recommendations with a pledge to support the leadership of young people pursuing cultural endeavours, to champion gender mainstreaming and to develop partnerships between the public and private sectors. This plan has already become part of Indonesia national policy. 

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