The Culture2030Goal campaign, of which IFLA is a founding member, has welcomed recent statements by UN Member States, the G20, the BRICS and ministers of the European Union which underline the role of culture in development, and point towards the need for a dedicated culture goal in future.

IFLA has been a member of the Culture2030Goal campaign (and its predecessor, the Culture2015Goal campaign) for ten years, alongside sister organisations at the global and regional levels. The campaign is built around the belief that culture needs to gain recognition across government as a pillar of sustainable development.

This is essential, we believe, if we are to deliver on the SDGs, given both the key role of culture in shaping behaviours and responses to policies, and the insight and energy that the culture sector can bring.

While there are arguments that culture already exists across the 2030 Agenda, we have seen that this approach simply does not give culture the profile it needs. As a result, we call for an explicit culture goal in any future development agenda, and for governments to act as if one existed already today.

The campaign has worked both to highlight good practice in the inclusion of culture into development, notably through analysis of Voluntary National Reviews of SDG implementation (for example see this year’s edition), as well as to engage at key meetings to make the point to ministers and representatives.

There was a major success in September 2022 when the final declaration of the UNESCO MONDIACULT conference was amended to include a call for an explicit culture goal. In the campaign’s response, we called for this message to be brought beyond the culture sector, given that it needed to be heard and echoed across governments to be effective.

As our most recent statement notes, this has now happened, with four different cross-governmental statements in the space of two months underlining the need to raise the profile of culture – from the United Nations General Assembly, the G20, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the European Union.

These endorsements are very welcome, and we look forward to seeing them reflected both in the work around the UN’s own Summit of the Future in September 2024, and translated into practical actions and commitments.