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Culture in Public Policy

Given the scale of contemporary global challenges and their interconnectedness, achieving a more sustainable future must be the priority of all public policies today. 
CPD/Main image CPP

In more fragmented societies, public policies must respond to the aspirations of diverse populations, as well as guarantee pluralism and respect for fundamental rights. Culture provides boundless resources in responding and adapting to development challenges by playing a transversal and effective role in all areas of public policy. The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets out precisely a shared vision for a more just, inclusive, and sustainable world. It encompasses a framework to support countries in the development and implementation of their public policies at the local, national, regional and international levels.

This page is dedicated to culture in public policy. It presents the key milestones of our mission to strengthen intergovernmental dialogue and international cooperation, in particular through policy making processes, including ministerial dialogues, as well as related tools and mechanisms. It also provides examples of sustainable development strategies and plans at country level. This section also encompasses thematic strategies and policy mechanisms anchored in UNESCO's cultural conventions that provide a solid framework for cultural cooperation and cultural diplomacy across countries and regions, towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Finally, this section features prospective cutting-edge reflections in relation to the impact of culture on sustainable development. 

Driving Global Advocacy

Since the UNESCO World Conference MONDIACULT in 1982 and Stockholm in 1998, the international community has endorsed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Goals (SDGs). The United Nations has also adopted 8 Resolutions between 2010 and 2021 on the now uncontested linkages between culture and sustainable development, testifying to Member States’ commitment to drive forward the enabling role of culture to shape inclusive and resilient societies. The timeline below provides a snapshot of these major achievements in UNESCO’s advocacy with its Member States and across the UN System over the past few decades.

Leveraging Policy Dialogue

Forum of Ministers of Culture

A 2019 major event to discuss culture in public policies around the world and its impact on sustainability.

Online meeting of Ministers of Culture

2020 Online Meeting of Ministers of Culture on the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Cultural Sector.

MONDIACULT 2022

The UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development - MONDIACULT 2022.

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Supporting Public Policy: UNESCO's Cultural Conventions Tools

The most significant feature of the 1972 World Heritage Convention is that it links together in a single document the concepts of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural properties. The Convention recognizes the way in which people interact with nature, and the fundamental need to preserve the balance between the two.

The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was adopted at The Hague (Netherlands) in 1954 in the wake of massive destruction of cultural heritage during the Second World War.  It is the first international treaty with a world-wide vocation focusing exclusively on the protection of cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict.

The 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property urges States Parties to take measures to prohibit and prevent the illicit trafficking of cultural property. It provides a common framework for the States Parties on the measures to be taken to prohibit and prevent the import, export and transfer of cultural property.

The 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage enables States to better identify, research and protect their underwater cultural heritage, assuring its preservation and sustainability for present and future generations.

The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage protects traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

The cultural and creative industries are among the fastest growing sectors in the world. The cultural and creative industries have become essential for inclusive economic growth, reducing inequalities and achieving the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda. The adoption of the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was a milestone in international cultural policy.

 

 

Protecting our World Cultural and Natural Heritage
CPD/World heritage
Protecting Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict
Tracker 19 CPH 3
Fighting Illicit Trafficking
1970 Convention image
Protecting Underwater Cultural Heritage
Underwater heritage
Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage
CPD/LHC
Protecting and Promoting the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
2005 Convention/CPD

UNESCO's Cities Programmes

UNESCO's Cultural Conventions Tools
Creative Cities Network
World Heritage Cities Programme