The Culture for Development Indicators Suite (CDIS) is an advocacy and policy tool that assesses the multidimensional role of culture in development processes through facts and figures.
Covering 7 key policy dimensions, the 22 CDIS indicators:
- Demonstrate with data how culture and development interact and enrich one another;
- Assess the environment in place for sustaining and enhancing cultural assets and processes for development; and
- Offer a global overview of national challenges and opportunities, informing cultural policies and development strategies to fully profit from culture’s potential.
The CDIS are currently under review in order to better align them with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the international community in September 2015.
The CDIS generates original facts and figures demonstrating the multidimensional contribution of culture to development with proven policy impact at the national level.
For example, in Namibia, the CDIS data helped to successfully advocate for the inclusion of culture in the 2014-2018 UNDAF; in Ecuador, it inspired a formalized inter-institutional dialogue on monitoring of cultural objectives in the National Development Plan (2009-2013) through relevant indicators; in Cambodia, the national government used the indicators to draft the National Policy for Culture adopted in 2014.
CDIS establishes a common ground for culture and development actors to better integrate culture in development policies and strategies and builds capacities at the national level for:
- Strengthening national statistic and information systems on culture and development;
- Informing cultural policies for development;
- Positioning culture in national and international development strategies and agendas;
- Enriching the CDIS Global Database.
The role of culture in development is today recognized not only by the culture community but also increasingly acknowledged by the development community.
References to the importance of culture both as a driver and enabler for sustainable development have been included in recent major documents that chart the path for a renewed development agenda, including the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
In spite of this promising environment, the difficulties encountered to date in quantifying the contribution of culture have led to its marginalization in national and international development strategies. UNESCO has developed the CDIS methodology in response to this challenge.
The CDIS has been conceived as a pragmatic and effective methodological tool that guides the construction and analysis of indicators for policy purposes in low and middle-income countries. It offers an opportunity to strengthen the case for culture’s inclusion in development strategies and agendas as it provides an empirical demonstration of culture’s contribution to sustainable development, economic growth and social progress.
The CDIS thus facilitates the operationalization of the 2005 Convention and the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Adopting a holistic approach, the CDIS covers 7 interrelated policy dimensions that address the multi-faceted contribution of culture to sustainable development.
The selected CDIS dimensions follow the recommendations of Our Creative Diversity, the 1996 UNESCO Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development. They provide coverage of most elements to be taken into account when describing the role of culture as both a driver and enabler of sustainable development. This approach encourages cross-readings between policy dimensions, so the results then illustrate the contribution of culture to the creation of economic, social and cultural value, as well as increasing the impact and effectiveness of development interventions.