UN High-level Event calls for mainstreaming of culture in recovery and the 2030 Global Agenda



Release Date

Monday, May 17, 2021


Paris, 17 May—The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Volkan Bozkƒ±r, will convene a High-level Event on Culture and Sustainable Development, organized in partnership with UNESCO, on 21 May. Participants will examine how investing in the creative economy could stimulate post-pandemic recovery. The event is destined to catalyze leadership and action to support the cultural and creative industries and their contribution to economic and social development, particularly in the context of the final Decade of Action to achieve the UN 2030 Global Agenda for sustainable development.

Taking place on World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, the event, consisting of three panel discussions and a plenary session, will highlight the transformative role of culture as an accelerator of the Sustainable Development Goals. It will raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities facing the cultural and creative sector, which has demonstrated great resilience during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The increased appreciation for creativity over the last year has made one thing clear, culture is essential to our emotional well-being, particularly in times of crisis. As we begin our journey of recovery, we must ensure that culture is not left by the wayside,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General.

“During the darkest days of the pandemic, many of us found comfort in music, books and films,” said the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Volkan Bozkir. “But many artists and cultural professionals suffered economically. As we work to recover from COVID-19, we must simultaneously draw upon the skills of those in the creative sphere and ensure that no artist or cultural professional is left behind.”  

In 2020, the health crisis shook the world and exposed preexisting fault lines and vulnerabilities within the culture sector globally. Moreover, it brought to light the critical contribution of culture to societies’ resilience, wellbeing and prosperity, inspiring world leaders to acknowledge the dividends the culture sector brings to the global economy and to their own national GDPs.

Against this background, and to mark the International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development in 2021, the first topic of the event will focus on how to safeguard the creative economy through crisis-response measures. The impact of new technologies and services on the status of cultural workers will be explored alongside ways to scale-up multilateral partnerships, including cross-cutting collaborations among UN agencies, to amplify culture’s contribution to sustainable development at both national and local levels. The event will also underscore the strong commitment of cities which have been at the frontline of the pandemic.

UNESCO and the World Bank will publish a joint Position Paper on Cities, Culture and Creativity aimed at supporting local decision-makers work to enable creative urban ecosystems in which the cultural and creative industries can take root, innovate and flourish. Since the outbreak of the Pandemic, UNESCO has been monitoring the state of creative industries during COVID-19 through the COVID-Tracker, organized over 200 Resiliart debates with stakeholders and published several reports on the situation faced by Museums for example

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