Culture is vital in the global development agenda, emphasizes Florence Declaration

Florence, Italy

“Cultural vitality is synonymous with innovation and diversity. Culture creates jobs, generates revenues and stimulates creativity. It is a multifaceted vector of values and identity. Moreover, culture is a lever that promotes social inclusion and dialogue,” the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, declared today at the close of UNESCO’s Third World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries, which took place in Florence from 2 to 4 October.

At the end of the Forum, its 300 participants adopted the Florence Declaration that advocates the integration of culture in the post-2015 development agenda, which the United Nations is scheduled to adopt in the autumn of 2015.

The declaration reflects the findings of national consultations on culture and development conducted jointly in five countries—Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Mali, Morocco and Serbia—by UNESCO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

“The national consultations have revealed the extent to which culture has the power to draw and mobilize people. It holds the key to more inclusive, and therefore more sustainable, policies,” said the Minister of Culture of Morocco, Mohamed Amin Sbihi. Aminata Haidara Sy, representing the Minister of Culture of Mali, for her part recalled the importance of cultural heritage, for example the manuscripts and mausoleums of Timbuktu, in enabling dialogue and national unity. The Minister of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serdoje Novic, stressed the benefits that preserving heritage and investing in the arts bring to sustainable urban development. Finally, the Minister of Culture of Serbia, Ivan Tasovac, recalled the dynamism of cinema and the arts as a whole in contributing to development and innovation.

The Florence Declaration notably calls on governments, civil society and the private sector to enhance:

  • human and institutional capacities;
  • legal and policy environments;
  • new partnership models and innovative investment strategies;
  • benchmarks and impact indicators to monitor and evaluate the contribution of culture to monitor and evaluate the contribution of culture to sustainable development.