UNESCO showcases impact of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity and appeals for urgent funding

To mark the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development and in the presence of Sir David Khalili, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Chairperson of the Khalili Foundation, UNESCO held a special event on 20 May 2022 to highlight the significant potential of the global creative economy and the impact of UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD). The IFCD is the funding mechanism of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Culture and creativity lie at the heart of social and economic life all over the world. UNESCO’s 2022 Global Report, Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity: Addressing culture as a global public good, states that the creative industries currently account for 3.1% of global GDP and 6.2% of all employment, and that the creative economy has the potential to drive sustainable and inclusive development by generating decent jobs, particularly for women, youth, and vulnerable groups. Creative industries promote economic diversification, especially in countries still recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. The creative economy also has a wide range of social impacts including boosting  community resilience, social cohesion and a sense of belonging.

Today’s event is a call to action. A call to invest in creativity, and to build the creative economy back better.

 

Said Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture, reflecting on the devasting impact of COVID-19 on the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) but also the enormous potential of CCIs to drive inclusive and sustainable development.

Since 2010, the IFCD has distributed a total of US$ 9.4 million to 129 cultural projects in 65 countries of the Global South to strengthen policies for creativity, providing vocational and entrepreneurial training to people or communities who otherwise would not have the opportunity.

 

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The event highlighted testimonials from Tanzania, Mexico, Ecuador, Cambodia and Argentina and exclusive performances from IFCD beneficiaries.

In Tanzania, for example, the IFCD supported Muda Africa, a local NGO committed to sustaining cultural, social, and economic progress for youth through strengthening the contemporary dance scene in East Africa. The project is building a web portal that features the best of East African dancers from Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda so that they can connect not only with each other but with regional and international opportunities to discover festivals, residencies, and teaching opportunities.

A major focus [of the IFCD project] is building the confidence of East African women dancers because they are still very low in numbers in the East African region… We are giving them capacity building in choreography [because] a choreographer is a position of power and a decision-making position in dance and that’s where we need more women to be.

Ms Rachel Kessi, Director of Muda Africa.

Through the work of the IFCD, UNESCO is creating a network of cultural and creative professionals who are not only putting the 2005 Convention into action, but they are also promoting dialogue and South-South and North-South-South cooperation. This work is more urgent, as the world faces multiple global crises. The time to invest in creativity is now.

Sir David Khalili closed the event by urging donations to the IFCD and launching the Khalili Foundation’s new initiative, the World Festival for Cultural Diversity.  

Art is one of humanity’s greatest tools for bringing people together, and for allowing us to truly see each other. Its influence on our hearts, spirits, and minds, individually or collectively, can be a powerful unifying force for humanity. This is why I know, without any question, that investing in the creative economy is an incredibly important mission for us to undertake in order to safeguard our future... As a cultural philanthropist and as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador I'd like to encourage all governments, partners and individuals to commit to supporting the IFCD.

 

To make a donation to protect cultural diversity please click here. 

SDG(s)
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention