Position document on “Sustainable urban development and culture”

July 14, 2016, 11:11 am

Culture Action Europe co-signed and contributed to the position paper on “Sustainable urban development and culture” drafted by the Committee on Culture of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

In October 2016, the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), to be held in Quito, will adopt the New Urban Agenda, a document which is expected to provide guidance on the development of urban policies around the world for the next 20 years. The process of discussion and consultation leading to Habitat III is now coming to an end, with a ‘zero draft’ of the New Urban Agenda released on 6 May 2016 and a revised version published on 18 June 2016.

In 2013-2015 the #culture2015goal campaign promoted the integration of cultural aspects in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, under the motto “The Future We Want Includes Culture”. The resulting 2030 Agenda included some references to culture, including: the need for education to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development (target 4.7); the encouragement of creativity and innovation in development-oriented policies (target 8.3), the promotion of sustainable tourism, including through culture and local products (targets 8.9 and 12.b); the strengthening of efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage (target 11.4); the need to strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets (target 16.4); and the guarantee of public access to information (target 16.10).

In its final document “Culture in the SDG Outcome Document: Progress Made but Important Steps Remain Ahead”, the leaders of this campaign stated that “a global initiative such as this will continue to be necessary, in order to advocate for the inclusion of culture in development frameworks and strategies” and called “for the inclusion of truly operational references to culture in the major international conferences where the implications of the SDG framework will be discussed, including (…) the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III, Quito, October 2016).”

The signatories of this paper have closely followed the development of the New Urban Agenda and would like to comment on its revised ‘zero draft’.

Download the position paper here in English, French and Spanish.