The Culture 2030 Goal campaign has released its review of the place of culture in the reports released by national governments about how they are working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. As well as highlighting the different dimensions of culture’s contribution, it underlines both the need – and the feasibility – of an explicit culture goal.

The Culture2030Goal campaign, of which IFLA is a founding member, aims to build awareness of and support for a clear place for culture in the global development agenda as an essential condition for success.

The reason why this is needed is that culture is currently not well recognised in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, despite its generally agreed and well-evidenced role in this field, as set out in research and international declarations, not least that from MONDIACULT 2022.

In order to support this work, the campaign has assessed how strongly culture features in national reviews of work towards the goals, in order to build a stronger sense of the place of culture in development policy planning today, and highlight good practices.

The 2023 edition of this analysis is now available on the Culture2030Goal website.

A first positive finding is that every country reporting on their progress towards the Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) refers to culture, although the level of emphasis varies strongly.

Different aspects of culture’s connection with development come through in the 36 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) which had been published at the time of writing:

  • Culture as a basis for identity as a starting point for development;
  • Safeguarding and promoting culture (and heritage) as a goal in itself;
  • Culture as a factor determining success in other policy areas;
  • Culture as a means of promoting the 2030 Agenda as a whole.

A significant share of VNRs talk about each of these aspects, with a number underlining clearly that culture should be seen as a pillar of development and highlighting its under-recognition in the Agenda as it stands. However, we are a long way from a full and meaningful integration of culture into VNRs.

A mapping of existing references to culture to the targets proposed in the Culture2030Goal campaign’s zero draft of a culture goal demonstrates that such a goal is feasible, and if more widely known and adopted, could stimulate stronger and more meaningful integration of culture into sustainable
development planning and reporting.

Read the report here.