Culture in Sustainable Development in Sweden
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.