Culture in Development Cooperation

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Andrea Valentini25 January 2016


Culture and development: towards a more strategic approach to cultural policies in the EU's external relations (European Commission, 2015) - The Conference organised by the Luxembourgish Presidency, on 3-4 September in Echternacht (Luxembourg), was to reinforce the role of Culture in EU's external action, and promote Culture in a more transversal way in other sector policies. The purpose was also to show the strength of Culture in enhancing economic, social and cultural development, and the importance of Culture as a sector per se that needs long term strategies and vision.

Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (UNESCO, 2005) - The 2005 Convention is a legally-binding international agreement that ensures cultural professionals can produce a broad range of cultural goods and services.

Reshaping Cultural Policies (United Nations 2015) 2005 Convention Global Report - For the first time at the global level, the recently adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 acknowledges the key role of culture, creativity and cultural diversity to solving sustainable development challenges. This recognition resonates with the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the 10th anniversary of which we celebrate in 2015.

United Nations Resolutions

Draft Resolution on Culture and Sustainable Development A/C.2/70/L.59  8/12/2015 (United Nations, 2015)

UN General Assembly Draft Resolution on Culture and Sustainable Development A/C.2/70/L.59    8/12/2015 (United Nations, 2015)

European Parliament Resolutions

EP Report on the role of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and education in promoting EU fundamental values (European Parliament, 2015)

EP Joint Motion for a Resolution on the Destruction of cultural sites perpetrated by ISIS/Da'esh (European Parliament, 2015)

In-Depth Analysis: The increasing role of the EU's culture, education and science diplomacy in Asia (European Parliament, 2015)

Joint Motion for an EP Resolution on Syria: situation in Palmyra and the case of Mazen Darwish (European Parliament, 2015)

Council Conclusions

Council Conclusion - Declaration on Promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through educatio (Council of the European Union, 2015)

Council conclusions on culture in the EU's external relations with a focus on culture in development cooperation - Council conclusions (Council of the European Union, 2015)

Council conclusions on a transformative post-2015 agenda (Council of the European Union, 2015)

Joint Communications

Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations JOIN/2016/029 f (European Commission, 2016)

Reports and Studies

Cultural Times: The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries (World Creative, 2016) - For the first time, this survey quantifies the global economic and social contribution of this important sector. The study analyses 11 Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) sectors: advertising, architecture, books, gaming, movies, music, newspapers/magazines, performing arts, radio, television and visual arts.

New Perspectives on UK-Iran Cultural Relation (British Council, 2015) - This volume seeks to explore the past and present cultural relations ties between the UK and Iran, and make positive suggestions for future development. Despite the history of relations between the two countries being characterised by mistrust, cultural relations partnerships and respect for each country’s arts, education sector, and linguistic heritage have remained extremely high. We hope that this volume demonstrates the strength and scope of some of those relations, and that it might provide inspiration for further and deeper cooperation and collaboration in these areas.

Study on projects using cultural expressions as a lever for employment, human rights, democracy and other human development areas (European Commission, 2014) - A study commissioned by the European Commission that examines how projects use cultural expressions as a lever for employment, human rights, democracy and other human development areas. The aim of the study is to illustrate how cooperation projects involving cultural operators, cultural sectors of activity and/or cultural content can contribute to EU development priorities, especially within the framework of the Agenda for Change and the new EU Multiannual Financial Framework.

Study on the Economic and Social Impacts of Culture: The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music (Naima Lahbil, 2015) - This study analyses the World sacred music from the perspective of its economic and social impacts as well as its symbolic value at a time when culture is increasingly becoming a point of focus (and contestation) of development programmes devoted to European Union partner countries in the South of the Mediterranean.


Culture Matters: Why culture should be at the heart of public policy (British Council, 2014)- Culture makes the difference between existing and living. It shapes our sense of ourselves and of the places where we spend our lives. It gives a community – whether a family, a village, a city or a nation – its sense of cohesion and identity, of pride and dignity: a collective understanding and shared experience which is the foundation of citizenship.

Strengthening the Governance of Culture to Unlock Development Opportunities (UNESCO, 2013) - Results of the UNESCO-EU Expert Facility Project.

Culture in the SDG Outcome Document: Progress made, but important steps remain ahea (CultureGoal2015, 2015) - Since 2013, the global campaign "The Future We Want Includes Culture", led by several regional and global civil society organizations, has advocated for the inclusion of culture in the SDG Outcome Document. The campaign’s Declaration, which was translated into eight languages, was endorsed by over 900 organizations and thousands of citizens from 120 countries, proof of its universal appeal. 

Strengthening the Governance of Culture to Unlock Development Opportunities (UNESCO, 2013) - A partnership project between UNESCO and the EU entitled “Expert Facility to Strengthen the System of Governance for Culture in Developing Countries” provides evidence of the positive effects of the participatory engagement of the culture sector in policy making and how governments can work together to unlock the potential of cultural industries for employment, social inclusion and poverty reduction.

Full Report of Study on projects using cultural expressions as a lever for employment, human rights, democracy and other human development area (European Commission, 2014) – The European Commission’s Directorate General for Development and Cooperation – Europaid has commissioned a study to identify, select and analyse a sample of culture related selected projects supported by the European Union through its cooperation instruments or by Member States.


Article on the Conference "Culture and development: towards a more strategic approach to cultural policies in the EU's external relations" (EC, 2015)- Article on the Conference "Culture and development: towards a more strategic approach to cultural policies in the EU's external relations"  3-4 September 2015
Is there a new EU approach to culture and development? (Stefano Manservisi, 2009) - Something seems to change in the international and, particularly, in the European debate on development and development policy. During the past decades, culture has been having, unfortunately a marginal role in the development policies of international institutions and donors. Still today, culture is too frequently the last item of long policy wish lists and is often left out of the development policy strategies due to lack of funding. However, in the last years, the European Union (EU) has been taking steps towards a redefinition of the relation between culture and development,1 to the point that for the European Union, culture is now increasingly recognized as an important part of its main development policy.

Strategic Papers

National strategies on culture and development: NORWAY, SWITZERLAND, DENMAR (Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affrais, 2013)-  Culture in the Post-2015 Agenda

Conflict Prevention and Resolution: The Role of Cultural Relation (British Council/SDA, 2010) - This event, organised by the SDA, the British Council, and NATO, on the role of cultural relations in conflict prevention and resolution drew a large and expectant crowd. The conference demonstrated how “cultural” projects on the ground were improving dialogue, and hence playing a part in both preventing conflict and healing post-conflict wounds. Initiatives in the spotlight were those attempting to re-establish forgotten traditions and preserve cultural heritage, while others focused on the arts as a way of bringing cultures together.

The Contribution of Art and Culture in Peace and Reconciliation Processes in Asia (CKU, 2015) - The past decade has seen a global increase in donor, scholarly and practitioner interests in the role of art and culture in peace and reconciliation processes. Focussing on Asia, where diverse conflicts hinder peaceful development, this study offers an overview of existing artistic and cultural responses to pre- and post-conflict. Due to the attention to resolving complex, violent and identity-based conflicts by including art and cultural activities, this study presents an inroad to understanding interlinks between art, culture and conflict. A literature review serves as the background for a mapping of art and cultural activities in conflict affected areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal, and Indonesia and an in-depth examination of the different approaches to art and culture in peacebuilding, reconciliation and conflict-prevention processes.

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