20.02.2017 - UNESCO Venice Office

South-East Europe: Ministers of Culture to address culture and sustainable development in line with the 2030 Agenda

ltynAsyr - Skanderbeg Square, Tirana (Albania)

The Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe ‘Enhancing Culture for Sustainable Development’ (CoMoCoSEE) will gather in Tirana, Albania on 22 February 2017 for its annual meeting. Being the main cooperation platform in South-East Europe, its main purpose is to strengthen regional cooperation in the field of culture and development, boosting cultural heritage and creativity as drivers for sustainable development and regional integration.

Culture is who we are and what shapes our identity. Culture contributes to poverty reduction and paves the way for a human-centred, inclusive and equitable development. Placing culture at the heart of development policies constitutes an essential investment in the world's future and a pre-condition to successful globalization processes that take into account the principle of cultural diversity.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015 by the United Nations marks a substantial step forward for sustainable development in many fields, and in particular for culture as it is the first time that the international development agenda refers to culture within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals related to education, sustainable cities, food security, the environment, economic growth, sustainable consumption and production patterns, peaceful and inclusive societies.

As Albania is currently holding the rotating presidency of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe (CoMoCoSEE), its Minister of Culture, Ms Mirela Kumbaro Furxhi, is hosting the third meeting of this leading regional cooperation platform in the field of culture, since the revision of its format in 2014. The event will likewise aim at reinforcing coordination at all levels between cultural and other sectorial policies, including tourism, in line with the 2030 Agenda.

Continued efforts at both country and regional levels are necessary in order to develop cross-sectoral and transversal capabilities and initiatives in cultural industries, creativity and heritage management, including disaster risk reduction and sustainable tourism management. Statistical tools are lacking to assess and monitor the impact of culture for development. The experience and results originated from the implementation of the Culture for Development Indicators (CDIS) in several CoMoCoSEE Member States are to be regarded with interest, with a possible extension to the entire region and application at local levels as well.

The recent decision taken by the Council of European Union and the European Parliament to designate 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage is also an opportunity for the CoMoCoSEE Member States to join hands and promote together the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the region.

As a final point, the meeting in Tirana will renew CoMoCoSEE’s appeal to the European Union to support the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property in, from and through the region, in cooperation with UNESCO.

Participants will include ministers and high representatives of the CoMoCoSEE Member States: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. Observers (Austria, Italy, UNESCO, European Union, Council of Europe) are also expected to attend the meeting.

Video message of UNESCO Director-General - Third Ministerial Conference of CoMoCoSEE [3:33]

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