Culture in Sustainable Development in Sweden

Where
Sweden
When
2012
Key objectives of the measure:

Cultural assistance has been an important part of Sweden’s development policy with the overall goal of contributing to making it possible for poor people to improve their living conditions. At most, culture assistance amounted to SEK 180 million a year and was distributed in more than 30 countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Culture has a central role in the Swedish assistance for democracy and freedom of expression, which is a Swedish priority in development cooperation. Culture can, with the application of a rights perspective, contribute to greater freedom of expression, non-discrimination, increased participation and accountability. Culture creativity can promote exchange of views and influence the processes of democratisation in authoritarian states and stagnant democracies, as well as help to increase the public’s knowledge.
The role of culture in development cooperation has been highlighted in the policies for democracy and human rights (2010), the policy for the support to civil society (2009) as well as in the Annual Budget of the Government in 2012, in strategies and policies where the Government states that Sweden should promote cultural diversity and the right to cultural expression. The Swedish Government has highlighted democratic actors of change such as civil society organisations, political parties, free and independent media and cultural actors.

Main feature of the measure:
Cultural support is channelled through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), but also through multilateral channels such as the UN (for example UNESCO). It is estimated that during the period 2006–2011, Sweden contributed a total of nearly SEK 850 million in cultural assistance through Sida. In some cases, Sida subcontracts other official authorities, such as the Swedish Institute (SI) and the Swedish Arts Council, for the implementation of specific programmes.
More recently, Swedish support to culture based projects has decreased. This decrease is a consequence of several factors that reduced the number of partner countries and because partner countries have made different priorities, and because culture is now included as part of other areas and activities (such as a part of the sector democracy and human rights).
The reporting of indicators and result evaluations are conducted within the framework of other areas. In 2009, a specific evaluation on Sida’s support to SI was however arranged.The evaluated program creates opportunities for professional meetings and cooperation between Swedish and non-Swedish practitioners in order to build networks and contribute to regional and local knowledge sharing. The aim of the cultural exchange is to build on and contribute to foster views, values and working methods that in a sustainable way advocate human rights, gender equality, democracy, transparency and creativity. The evaluation stated that much had been achieved through the programme, and that the stated broad objectives, of cultural exchange, of enhanced cooperation between the people of Sweden and the developing world, and, to a certain extent, of improving conditions in the developing world, were being achieved. A key problem was, however, the lack of clear definitions of expected results, which made it difficult to clearly assess both the relevance and outcome of the programme.
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Multi-domain
Cultural Value Chain
Creation
Production
Distribution
Participation