The Culture2030Goal campaign, of which IFLA is a founding member, has called on governments to correct the mistakes of 2015, and make sure that the Declaration emerging from a key UN event in September recognises the role of culture in accelerating sustainable development.

With 2023 marking the half-way point in the delivery of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, there is an urgent need to ensure that all accelerators of development are being used.

The next 15 months will have a major impact in this, with the SDG Summit this December highlighting priorities, and the Summit of the Future in September 2024 launching a series of initiatives that will hopefully enhance the ability of the UN and others to deliver.

A call for culture

IFLA is a founding member of the Culture 2030 Goal campaign, which brings together global cultural networks focused on ensuring that the role of cultural actors and factors is integrated into development policy planning and implementation.

We argue, notably, that it was a serious mistake not to make culture into an explicit goal in the 2030 Agenda, as agreed in 2015, leading to it being all too often neglected by policy makers and other stakeholders alike.

In the past years, the campaign has looked to identify examples of good practice, as highlighted in Voluntary National and Local Reviews of SDG implementation, as well as to argue – successfully – for the cultural community itself to make an explicit culture goal an objective. This resulted in the inclusion of this call in the Declaration from the UNESCO MONDIACULT conference in September 2022.

Stepping up a gear

However, if we are to ensure that the potential of culture is already better recognised and realised, it is important to ensure that it features in key declarations and documentation at the level of the United Nations.

The Declaration that emerges from the SDG Summit in September is a key opportunity. It is therefore concerning that the current zero-draft makes no reference, despite the UN Secretary General himself underlining how important it will be to do more around culture in his own report on progress towards the SDGs.

A statement released by the Culture 2030 Goal campaign makes this point, representing a call both on negotiators in New York, and anyone else who understands the role of culture in development to mobilise, and avoid repeating the mistakes of 2015.

Inclusion of culture at this point will send a signal, not only to governments in order to intensify their own efforts to include culture in development policy planning and implementation, but also to the cultural community – including libraries – that their work is essential and recognised.


IFLA members interested in engaging in this work are encouraged to get in touch with culture ministries, UNESCO National Commissions, and Permanent Missions to the United Nations in order to share this message, and urge them not to miss this opportunity.