When acclaimed pianist and jazz composer, Danilo Pérez crafts outreach music programmes for children living in extreme poverty in his native Panama, a lot more both goes into and comes out of the process than learning the difference between treble and bass clefs and deciphering keys and chords.
“Music is a tool for social development,” Pérez said during the United Nations launch of the Creative Economy Report 2013 Special Edition, “Widening Local Development Pathways”. The Report focuses on creative economy at the local level in developing countries. It is co-published by UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the UN Office for South South Co-operation.
A UNESCO Artist for Peace, Pérez said effective musical improvisation involves learning, listening, sharing and taking turns as well as values such as responsibility as well as individual development as a soloist and community development when part of a band. Children who learn music also have enhanced opportunities for study when they are older. “I have seen how music has changed peoples’ lives,” he added.
The report “sends out a clear message: the creative economy is both a powerful economic motor, generating employment and income, and, at the same time, a source of social cohesion, identity and dignity,” said Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture. “Owing to this dual nature, the creative economy encompasses the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development, which enable it to be truly sustainable.
World trade in creative goods and services is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy, more than doubling from 2002 to 2011. At the same time, developing countries averaged 12.1 per cent annual growth in the export of creative goods.
Bandarin noted that more and more countries are investing in culture as a driving force for sustainable development and cited the examples of China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, where the cultural sector represents 10% of GDP.
“As the Report […] so clearly highlights, this economic sector offers developing countries outstanding potential, and will likely play an increasing role in our quest for sustainable development post 2015,” said Paulette Bethel, speaking on behalf of the President of the General Assembly John W.Ashe, “Investing in the creative economy reaps vast rewards for our societies - leading to valuable innovation, entrepreneurship, artistic expression, and enhanced quality-of-life. Although the true value that the creative industries bring to individuals and societies cannot always be measured, they are one of the main driving forces of development, bringing transformative change to the global, national and local levels.
“The Creative Economy Report 2013 highlights that investments in cultural capital tend to accrue in larger socio-economic benefits. The cultural sector is also particularly dynamic and growing rapidly; in the last decade, global trade in cultural goods and services more than doubled.
“The cultural and creative industries offer enormous potential for bettering our homes, our societies, our environment and our understanding of those who are different from us. We are committed to creating an inclusive and universal post-2015 development agenda precisely because we believe that prosperity should be available to all. Culture is not only a pathway to increased prosperity; it is a form of prosperity itself,” said Ms. Bethel
“Based on the evidence of how many countries and communities are harnessing the creative economy for development, the Report identifies opportunities for culture and the sectors associated with it to be both drivers and enablers of inclusive and sustainable development, including at the local level,” said Helen Clark, Administrator, UN Development Programme. She added that creative sectors are also drivers of inclusive growth. “The report shows how culture and the creative sectors are driving innovation and entrepreneurship, and thereby stimulating economic growth, generating jobs, and raising incomes. The numbers speak for themselves: in 2011 world trade of creative goods and services reached $624 billion dollars; more than twice the total of a decade ago.”