The role of culture for sustainable development has emerged as an important policy and strategic issue at international and national levels. However, to provide an evidence-based demonstration of culture’s role, quantitative data and indicators are requisite.

The UNESCO CDIS Toolbox addresses this demand by providing step-by-step guidance for the construction and analysis of 22 indicators highlighting the multidimensional contribution of culture to development processes.

As a result of rigorous testing worldwide, the CDIS offers a wide-ranging selection of suitable tools for application in low and middle-income countries. This comprehensive package addresses both methodological and practical concerns and serves as a framework for autonomous capacity building to strengthen statistics and monitoring systems related to culture and development. However, to be included in the Global CDIS Database, please note that all constructed indicators must be validated by UNESCO.

Data Tables

The CDIS Data Tables have been created to facilitate the construction of the 22 CDIS indicators at the national level. They offer a common framework for data processing and include, whenever possible, automatic calculations and visualizations of results. By providing such technical assistance, the CDIS Data Tables also foster a certain comparable understanding of results.


Global Database

The CDIS Global Database includes the results for the 22 CDIS indicators and the detailed sources used for their construction worldwide in 11 countries.
During implementation from 2011 to 2014, the CDIS involved over 24 national level workshops to discuss and validate results, bringing together a large number of stakeholders from ministries, national statistics institutes, academics, development agencies and civil society.


Implementation Toolkit

The Implementation Toolkit breaks down the CDIS implementation process into individual steps that are part of a highly participative approach.  It facilitates collaborative and efficient implementation of the CDIS at the national level, ensuring that once the guidelines are followed, country processes and results allow for a certain comparable understanding at the international level. The tips, tools and trouble-shooting advice in the Toolkit stem from the lessons learned during two test phases carried out from 2011 to 2013.


CDIS Methodology Manual

The Methodology Manual offers detailed technical guidance for data collection, the construction of the CDIS indicators and the interpretation of results. It is structured around 3 key sections:  

  • The Analytical Framework provides an overview of culture and development debates and summarizes the conceptual and analytical parameters of the CDIS methodology;
  • The 7 Dimension Roadmaps (Economy, Education, Governance, Social Participation, Gender Equality, Communication, and Heritage Sustainability) provide the step-by-step instructions to construct and interpret the 22 CDIS indicators at the national level;
  • A brief Technical Note reviews the main technical and methodological issues (data sources, types of indicators etc.).

The complete CDIS Methodology Manual is in the process of being finalised and will be published soon. You can download the 7 Roadmaps below:


CDIS Methodology was developed thanks to the financial support of
Government of Spain

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Section for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CLT/CRE/DCE)

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