UNESCO-UNDP Report Highlights Culture, Creative Sector Contributions to Sustainable Development
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Creative goods and services boost economies and contribute to inclusive social development, according to the UN Creative Economy Report, ‘Widening local development pathways,' published by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) through the UN Office for South-South Cooperation.

unesco-undp10 December 2013: Creative goods and services boost economies and contribute to inclusive social development, according to the UN Creative Economy Report, titled ‘Widening local development pathways,’ published by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) through the UN Office for South-South Cooperation.

The report aims to inform the global debate on the post-2015 development agenda by illuminating culture and the creative sector as drivers and enablers of inclusive, sustainable development. The creative economy includes audiovisual products, design, new media, performing arts, publishing and visual arts. Exports of creative goods averaged over 12% annual growth between 2002 and 2011, making it one of the most rapidly growing global economic sectors. According to the report, world trade in creative goods and services amounted to US$ 624 billion in 2011.

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, described the cultural and creative sectors as engines of inclusive, sustainable development, emphasizing their contribution “to the overall well-being of communities, individual self-esteem and quality of life.” Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, said culture “empowers people to take ownership of their own development, and stimulates the innovation and creativity which can drive inclusive and sustainable growth.”

At a launch event in New York, US, on 10 December 2013, John Ashe, President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), cited the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and a recent UNGA resolution recognizing culture as an important factor in social inclusion, poverty eradication and sustainable development. He noted that the UNGA Second Committee is to consider a draft resolution calling for increased dialogue on the contribution of culture in the post-2015 development agenda, and mandating a high-level event on the issue.

The report features case studies illustrating the creative economy’s diverse, innovative nature and its contributions to developing country income generation and job creation. For example, by building on the city’s cultural assets, the Chiang Mai Creative City (CMCC) Initiative in Thailand aims to make Chiang Mai an attractive city in which to invest, live and work. The report also features Argentina’s creative industries, China’s textile industry, Morocco’s printing and publishing sector, Nigeria’s film industry and Senegal’s design, music and video production industry.

On forging cultural pathways to development, the report recommends: recognizing the creative economy’s non-monetary value, which contributes to people-centered, inclusive and sustainable development; making culture a driver and enabler of economic, social and environmental development processes; investing in creativity, innovation and sustainable creative enterprise development across value chains; and investing in capacity-building to empower creators and cultural entrepreneurs, among others. It further recommends, inter alia: mapping local assets; collecting data to support a creative economy development policy; investigating connections between formal and informal sectors to inform policy development; analyzing factors that contribute to creative economy development pathways; mainstreaming culture into economic and social development programmes; and engaging in South-South cooperation.

The report includes a policy report and a web documentary. UNESCO launched the report at the 37th Session of its General Conference, which is taking place from 5-20 November 2013, in Paris, France. [UNESCO Press Release] [UN Press Release] [Report Website] [Publication: Creative Economy Report: Key Recommendations] [Video Message of UNDP Administrator] [UNGA President’s Message]

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