3 May 2017

Presentation of UNESCO Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development – event in Brussels on May 2nd

Last Tuesday URBAN Intergroup in cooperation with MEP Bogdan Wenta and UNESCO organised a presentation of UNESCO publication Culture: Urban Future. This is the first Global Report to explore the role of Culture for Sustainable Urban Development.


This report, which has been launched at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito (Ecuador) in October 2016, provides a policy framework to support national and local governments in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the New Urban Agenda.


Drawing on a global survey implemented with nine regional partners and insights from scholars, NGOs and urban thinkers, the report offers a global overview of urban heritage safeguarding, conservation and management, as well as the promotion of cultural and creative industries, highlighting their role as resources for sustainable urban development. The publication concludes with the Atlas which includes 22 sub-regional maps situating the cities belonging to UNESCO networks around the world.


Bogdan Wenta, member of the URBAN Intergroup, opened the event by underlying  that the 2030 Agenda and the new Sustainable Development Goals recognize the transformative role of culture in many areas like education, sustainable cities, environment, gender equality or health and food safety. More than half of this 17 goals are culture-related, also because they include the issues of cultural heritage and cultural diversity. “Also in the new European Consensus on Development that will be very strongly interlinked with the SDGs, we are putting an emphasis on the protection and promotion of culture”- said Wenta.


During the seminar, representatives of the different Directorates Generals of the European Commission got opportunity to react to the UNESCO publication and share comments and experiences on the role of culture in different EU policies. From the perspective of the DG Education, Youth, Sports and Culture (EAC), cultural heritage is about people and – especially in the recent context – culture is a very important tool for the integration of migrants. Moreover, the need to build communities around culture, especially in smaller cities, was also mentioned . Representative of DG International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) underlined that the EU executive is committed to further integrate culture into international cooperation. DG Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO) presented links with culture in cohesion policy and some possibilities to finance cultural projects.


During the debate, representative of the Spanish Agency of Cooperation and Development which co-financed the publication of the report, presented motives of the cooperation with UNESCO and underlined that traditionally, Spanish experience in culture has an urban context.


Jan Olbrycht, President of the URBAN Intergroup, concluded the event by saying that in the context of the Urban Agenda for the EU – which is an implementation tool of the new Urban Agenda -, the cultural dimension should be present in different partnerships. Moreover, the possibility of setting 13 new partnerships focused especially on culture next year should be taken into consideration.


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