16.05.2018 - UNESCO Venice Office

Implementing Culture for Development Indicators in South-East Europe: sharing results and lessons in Brussels

Culture for Development Indicators

The Regional Workshop on the Implementation of the UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators in South-East Europe: Outcomes, impact, lessons learned, and the way ahead will take place on 17 May 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting will serve to present the results achieved and share experiences about the implementation of UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators in South-East Europe. It will be an opportunity to present a summary of the results at global level and to introduce UNESCO’s current efforts in developing new indicators on culture’s contribution to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, as defined by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Culture is who we are, and what shapes our identity. Placing culture at the heart of development policies is the only way to ensure a human-centred, inclusive and equitable development. In fact, within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015, the international development agenda refers to culture for the first time.  

The SDGs enshrine a conceptual shift in thinking about development beyond economic growth -envisioning a desirable future that is equitable, inclusive, peaceful, and environmentally sustainable. This bold vision demands creative approaches, beyond the typical linear and sectoral ones that most countries have been used to in recent decades.

With 22 indicators in 7 interrelated policy dimensions that address the multi-faced contribution of culture to sustainable development, the UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators (CDIS) establishes a common ground for culture and development actors to better integrate culture in development policies and strategies, generating concrete impacts at policy level.

UNESCO, through its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe in Venice (Italy), is supporting the implementation of CDIS in several countries of South-East Europe.

After Bosnia and Herzegovina where the indicators were implemented during the pilot phase in 2013, UNESCO established cooperation with national authorities to run the CDIS in other countries of the region. The CDIS implementation was completed in Montenegro (2015), Croatia (2016) and Albania (2016), while it is still in progress in the Republic of Moldova (2016), Serbia (2016) and Romania (2017). On-going consultations will possibly allow to also initiate the process in Slovenia and in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Thanks to these joint efforts, South-East Europe is the sub-region at global level in which the implementation of the CDIS methodology is the most advanced, providing an unprecedented opportunity for the comparison of data, results and sectoral policy at sub-regional and European levels.

Experience shows that CDIS implementation in these countries is leading to substantial progress on multiple issues, ranging from an increased awareness of culture’s potential amongst actors inside and outside of the culture sector to better-informed policies and strategies.

The multidimensionality of the CDIS facilitates cross-cutting analyses, thus providing a holistic and inclusive illustration of the relationship between culture and development. The results obtained and their analysis have already produced concrete and tangible impacts by encouraging action at policy level and structuring an inter-institutional dialogue and collaboration on culture and development.

To that end, the meeting in Brussels will focus on presenting the CDIS results and their impact in South-East European countries; allowing for the sharing of experiences and lessons learned during the CDIS implementation; assessing the strength and weaknesses of the CDIS methodology, proposing recommendations for improvement; creating conditions for extended implementation of the CDIS in the region; advancing knowledge and understanding of the role of culture in sustainable development; promoting mutual learning and the sharing of experiences on policy making for culture and development; strengthening cooperation among countries and stakeholders and simulating partnership for joint promotion and resource mobilization; and, introducing UNESCO’s current efforts in developing new indicators of culture for development, as a direct contribution to the country efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

The meeting is organized by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, in cooperation with the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels and the UNESCO Division for Creativity.

Expected participants include representatives of national CDIS project teams from the countries in which the CDIS implementation was completed or is in progress, representatives of South-East European countries’ delegations to the European Union (EU), representatives of EU institutions and other relevant stakeholders, and UNESCO staff and international resource persons.

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The UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators is a pioneering policy and advocacy tool that aims to assess the multidimensional role of culture in development processes, fostering economic growth and helping individuals and communities to expand their life choices and adapt to change.

It refers to culture both as a sector of organized activity and as the values that orient individual and collective action and comprises several type of indicators ranging from the contribution of cultural activities to GDP, to cultural employment, to questions of training, participation and efficiency of cultural policy frameworks and their degree of inclusiveness, to trust of others, or access to cultural infrastructures.

CDIS directly contributes to the implementation of Article (Integration of Culture in Sustainable Development) of the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.




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