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ENGLISH VERSION

International Seminar on “Culture and Development”


Girona, 4th and 5th of May 2010

Conclusions Document
Introduction

On the eve of the Millenium Development Goals Mid-term Review Conference, which is to take
place in New York in September 2010, the international seminar on “Culture and Development”,
held in Girona on the 4th and 5th May, 2010, has brought together member states of the E.U., the
European Commission, representatives at ministerial level of EU partner countries in the field of
development cooperation, in addition to experts and agents of civil society from 50 countries from
around the world and representatives of practically all international organisations as well as
specialised agencies of the United Nations involved in the support for the cultural sector.

The seminar confirmed that there is a growing consensus with regard to the specific cultural
aspects of sustainable human development. It also underlined the contribution that culture makes
to social and economic development, through the promotion of cultural and creative industries,
cultural tourism, cultural cooperation, as well as the fundamental role it plays in intangible
decisive dimensions, such as individual and collective self-esteem and the dignity of peoples.

To this end, there is a need to decisively incorporate the contribution and possibilities that culture
offers for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Besides that, there is
also the need for continued inclusion of the cultural dimension in development policies and
strategies of both partner countries and donors, in order to improve human development
indicators and to advance towards new methods of assessing the levels of welfare and
development of our societies, which include an essential cultural dimension.

When, in 2000 the UN General Assembly defined the MDGs within the Millennium Declaration,
culture was barely taken into account, neither as an objective nor as a factor to help attain these
goals.

In the past decade the conceptual debate on culture and development, in its different aspects,
has been both intense and fruitful, and has also allowed for the setting up of a highly relevant
strategic and empirical framework. Can be cited, among others: the 2004 UNDP Human
Development Report which emphasised the importance of cultural freedom for human
development; the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of
Cultural Expressions, already ratified by more than 110 countries; the approval in 2006 of both
Cultural Charters for IberoAmerica and the African Cultural Renaissance; the 2007 European
Agenda on Culture, which confirms the commitment of the European Commission as regards the
inclusion of culture in its European and external dimensions; the celebration, in 2009 in Brussels,
of the Colloquium “Culture and Creativity as Factors of Development”, which approved a
declaration of the professional sector of the E.U. and the ACP countries; or the definition, in both
partner countries and many donor agencies of strategies for cultural cooperation for
development.

MINISTERIO
DE ASUNTOS EXTERIORES COMISIÓN
Y DE COOPERACIÓN EUROPEA

AGENCIA ESPAÑOLA DG DE
DE COOPERACIÓN DESARROLLO
INTERNACIONAL DG EDUCACIÓN Y
PARA EL DESARROLLO 1
ENGLISH VERSION

Moreover, in addition to reaffirming the intrinsic value of culture, the seminar affirmed the
existence of a community of views as regards the need to include, once and for all, culture in
development strategies. It also put forward different best practices which prove that the cultural
sector not only has an impact, both in economic and social terms, in development programmes,
but also has an added value as regards its potential to improve the effectiveness and impact of
development aid.

1. The role of culture in the achievement of the MDGs

The debate within the panel on the role of culture in the achievement of the MDGs, showed that,
in the current context of economic and financial crisis, culture reaffirms itself as an essential
component of sustainable development. Indeed, culture plays a fundamental role in the overall
achievement of the MDGs, especially with respect to poverty eradication through its evident,
although often undervalued, contribution to economic growth in terms of both income and
employment generation (MDG1) and the achievement of a global alliance for development
(MDG8). Its positive effects in the fostering of self-esteem, innovation, learning, adaptation to
change, social cohesion and understanding of the other, were also emphasised. Creativity was
identified as an inexhaustible raw material, which stands at the basis of a new holistic vision of
development.

Yet, there are still those who see culture as an obstacle for development. With respect to this,
and as shown by the best practices on sexual and reproductive health presented during the
seminar, development policies should be designed, not from a cultural stronghold, but rather from
an understanding of the cultural situation in which change must be implemented.

In this context the seminar affirmed that culture cannot be absent from the forthcoming New York
conference and suggested to take stock of the global potential of culture, both as a sector of
direct intervention and as a transversal or horizontal priority, in the achievement of the MDGs.

Mainstreaming must avoid the fact that when taking into account the cultural dimension, it ends
up diluted in its theoretical approach or in its concrete implementation, as has already happened
in the past with other development issues such as gender or environment. Thus, the seminar has
shown that mainstreaming should be based on the explicit recognition of the role that culture
plays in development processes, in the deepening of knowledge with respect to existing
intersections, and on the inclusion of a cultural perspective in all phases of intervention.

The process should be completed with acknowledgement that culture is a sectoral priority in
development strategies. Indeed, examples that show its fundamental impact in terms of
development were presented.

Finally, it was also noted that, in line with the principles of 2005 Paris Declaration and the 2008
Accra Agenda, culture and cultural cooperation increase aid effectiveness since they strengthen
partner countries ownership of their development policies as well as respect for their own
priorities, in addition to improving the design of programmes and projects in terms of focus and
effectiveness.

MINISTERIO
DE ASUNTOS EXTERIORES COMISIÓN
Y DE COOPERACIÓN EUROPEA

AGENCIA ESPAÑOLA DG DE
DE COOPERACIÓN DESARROLLO
INTERNACIONAL DG EDUCACIÓN Y
PARA EL DESARROLLO 2
ENGLISH VERSION

2. Economy and Culture

Culture and cultural industries have shown their importance for the economic development of
nations and the generation of both wealth and employment. During the seminar examples of
cultural initiatives as an impulse for the development of local economy were shown. However,
due to the absence of quantitative data which provide adequate visibility, this aspect is not always
considered in the design of strategies and policies.

The current international framework calls for active partnerships between North and South,
focusing on fostering competitiveness of cultural sectors in developing countries, and on the
structure of the legal and political environment in which they operate. Indeed, the design of
cultural policies and plans of action, of training programmes aimed at consolidating the basis and
structuring the cultural sector as well as of measures which guarantee access of all to culture and
social inclusion, must be included in this approach. In order for the private sector to participate in
these processes, such incentive measures are necessary for the development of cultural
industries.

Moreover, measures should exist to support international mobility as well as international


frameworks to promote the exchange of information in this area between countries.

3. Cultural governance and cultural diversity

The affirmation of cultural diversity as a guiding value and a basic necessity of development and
the recognition of the ethical dimensions of culture have several implications in the political and
institutional framework. In general, there is a need for instruments that guarantee the access to
cultural goods of quality and contribute to the visibility of all communities. Actions such as
providing for cultural infrastructure at the local level and capacity building of civil servants as
regards cultural diversity, allow to give visibility to all cultural expressions and guarantee the
access of all to culture.

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural
Expressions provides the international community with a normative framework and a vision that
recognizes multiple identities, the relationship between culture and sustainable development, the
fight against poverty, and both the symbolic and economic values of cultural goods.

This framework must be translated into national action plans which can bring a holistic and
intersectoral focus to cultural policies as an instrument of social transformation and citizenship.
Furthermore, it is crucial to get civil society involved, including artists, intellectuals and
professionals through actions of awareness raising and information as well as fostering active
participation. It is also important to create spaces for encounter and consensus between different
agents that play a role in the field of cultural action and diversity.

There was a consensus on the importance of fostering the role of local cultural policies as agents
of sustainable development following the examples of the Agenda 21 for Culture that underlines
to role of culture as the “forth pillar” of sustainable development, and the UNESCO Creative
Cities Programme.

MINISTERIO
DE ASUNTOS EXTERIORES COMISIÓN
Y DE COOPERACIÓN EUROPEA

AGENCIA ESPAÑOLA DG DE
DE COOPERACIÓN DESARROLLO
INTERNACIONAL DG EDUCACIÓN Y
PARA EL DESARROLLO 3
ENGLISH VERSION

Finally, several elements were identified as regards the need to improve the effectiveness of
policies oriented to cultural diversity and development, such as the elaboration of methodologies
for planning and evaluation in the cultural sector.

4. Synergies between on-going programmes

Member States of the European Union, through their development agencies and national cultural
institutes, as well as several UN international agencies and bodies, have designed and
implemented a number of cultural cooperation projects for development which promote the
cooperation of different actors at many levels.

It is worth to mention the Window of Culture and Development of the United Nations MDG Fund
that is funded by Spain. This is the first programme that explicitly links culture and the efforts to
achieving the MDGs.

The European Commission is designing new support initiatives for the cultural sector through
innovative mechanisms in order to seek the involvement of the private sector and the
participation of beneficiary communities, such as the new Intra-ACP Programme for Culture and
the “Culture Auction Floor”.

There are new spaces for encounter between agents and also for the exchange of information
between different national and international bodies and civil society working in the field of culture
and development. This shows the relevance of introducing new working methods which promote
dialogue between agents and foster the coordination of actions by seeking new models in a
creative way.

The design of new working methods requires appropriately trained professionals with knowledge
on culture and development.

Finally, it is crucial to acknowledge the importance of improving the coordination of EU actors at


the local level and launching mechanisms and structures that promote a greater movement of
professionals, cultural goods and services at a regional level and a better access to international
and national markets.

5. – Haiti.

The seminar recognised the role of artists, intellectuals and cultural operators in maintaining
social cohesion after the earthquake.

The participants called upon the international community to make a joint effort to include the
cultural dimension in reconstruction and development projects for Haiti.

MINISTERIO
DE ASUNTOS EXTERIORES COMISIÓN
Y DE COOPERACIÓN EUROPEA

AGENCIA ESPAÑOLA DG DE
DE COOPERACIÓN DESARROLLO
INTERNACIONAL DG EDUCACIÓN Y
PARA EL DESARROLLO 4
ENGLISH VERSION

6.- Final Proposals.

For all the above, in order to provide useful elements in the process of reviewing the MDGs and,
in more general terms, for all those who work in development cooperation, including partner
countries, donors, international organisations as well as civil society, the following proposals are
made:

A- In the framework of the MDGs review process:

x To include the cultural dimension within the international consensus for development both
as a transversal and horizontal priority as well as a sector for intervention and to invite all
international organizations to contribute to this process.

x To underline the importance of the cultural dimension to increase the effectiveness of


Official Development Aid, in line with the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda.

B- To Cooperation agents:

- To the Governments of Partner Countries and to Regional Integration Organizations:

x To provide and share information on existing best practices in order to improve the
inclusion of culture in national and regional development policies, and the design of
policies for the protection and promotion of cultural diversity.

x To enhance and make use of the initiatives that already integrate culture in national
development strategies as well as in poverty reduction strategies. At the same time, to
continue the efforts for the design of policies aimed at improving governance and
institutional building in the cultural sector.

- To EU Member States and the European Commission:

x The need to draft a global strategy for the inclusion of culture in the development policies
of the European Commission and Member States.

x To set out a framework for the coordination and sharing of responsibilities in the
implementation of support programmes for the cultural sector.

x The importance of increasing coordination at field level in cultural cooperation projects.

- To international organisations:

ƒ To take into account cultural richness, diversity and development in human development
indicators, in order to foster a new way of measuring welfare, and to make steps in the
definition of both relevant methodologies and instruments.

- To civil society organizations and culture professionals:

MINISTERIO
DE ASUNTOS EXTERIORES COMISIÓN
Y DE COOPERACIÓN EUROPEA

AGENCIA ESPAÑOLA DG DE
DE COOPERACIÓN DESARROLLO
INTERNACIONAL DG EDUCACIÓN Y
PARA EL DESARROLLO 5
ENGLISH VERSION

ƒ To strengthen the processes leading to the setting up of clusters and platforms of cultural
operators at both international and national level in partner countries.

ƒ To promote information sharing on existing opportunities with regard to support measures


and funding available for the culture sectors.

MINISTERIO
DE ASUNTOS EXTERIORES COMISIÓN
Y DE COOPERACIÓN EUROPEA

AGENCIA ESPAÑOLA DG DE
DE COOPERACIÓN DESARROLLO
INTERNACIONAL DG EDUCACIÓN Y
PARA EL DESARROLLO 6