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The UNESCO Thematic Indicators for Culture in the 2030 Agenda ( UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators) is a framework of thematic indicators whose purpose is to measure and monitor the progress of culture’s enabling contribution to the national and local implementation of the Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Palangan Village in Kurdistan © Ghader Marzi

Thematic Indicators for
Culture in the 2030 Agenda

The UNESCO Thematic Indicators for Culture in the 2030 Agenda (UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators) is a framework of thematic indicators whose purpose is to measure and monitor the progress of culture’s enabling contribution to the national and local implementation of the Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The role of culture in building a more sustainable world is now widely recognized and reflected in the international agenda. UNESCO’s advocacy efforts for the culture and development approach over the last decade resulted in several UN Resolution on Culture and Development adopted by the UN General Assembly, the latest in December 2021 – following 8 similar Resolutions adopted in the previous years, voicing the need to adapt policy frameworks to better anchor culture within sustainable development. A landmark event in this process has been the integration of culture in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015. Culture is explicitly 

referenced in Target 11.4, ‘Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage,’ for which the globally agreed upon indicator 11.4.1 has been elaborated and is reported by UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS). Beyond Target 11.4, culture contributes both as a sector of activity and transversally across other sectors. The contribution of culture to sustainable development is also clearly recognized in other milestone international frameworks, including the New Urban Agenda (UN-Habitat).

The framework assesses both the role of culture as a sector of activity, as well as the transversal contribution of culture across different SDGs and policy areas. As a set of thematic indicators, it is intended to support and complement the global indicators agreed upon within the 2030 Agenda and foster linkages between different Goals and Targets. The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators framework aims to:

Approach

The lack of reliable data collection, measurement and monitoring processes have represented a significant and critical obstacle in pushing forward the importance of cultural heritage and creativity.

This insufficiency of quantitative evidence, as well as the fragmentation of culture related data, produced by different institutions, have tended to marginalize culture in national and local development strategies and policies as well as within the identified United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) areas for funding.

Bringing the data together and setting up more reliable measurement systems is essential to provide a better understanding of the multiple ways culture contributes to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. This has become all the more urgent in the context for recent calls for Climate Action as well as the global health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Implemented of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators is on a voluntary basis by countries and cities, and builds on an in-depth analysis of the multiple ways in which culture contributes to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development, the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators provides evidence of culture’s transformative role, making it more visible and tangible.

Rather than monitoring the contribution of culture to each relevant SDG Target and globally accepted indicator, the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators consider the contribution of culture across several of the Goals and Targets, with a view to linking them together. The framework allows aggregation of data across different Goals and Targets around transversal themes in line with UNESCO’s programmes, activities and policies.

By strengthening the transversal visibility of culture in the 2030 Agenda, the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators will help build a coherent and strong narrative on culture and development that is evidence-based and would help decision makers.

The Methodology

The conceptual framework, methodology and implementation mechanisms of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators relies as much as possible on existing data sources, using qualitative and quantitative data to assess the contribution of culture, integrate data from reporting on UNESCO Culture Conventions and programmes, develop instruments at both national and urban levels, prioritize capacity-building of relevant agencies, facilitate cooperation across institutions, propose a framework adaptable to different statistical capacities.

Guggenheim Museum, view of rotunda and skylight from ground floor © Solomon R.

Data Sources

While relying in priority on national statistical institutes, the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators will seek to bring together a variety of data sources, including from different ministries, observatories and public agencies, information systems for culture, specific barometers, specific national and regional surveys, and professional volunteer organization. The project will also support countries to enhance existing data within the UNESCO Culture Conventions and Recommendations periodic reports as well as the cultural data produced by UIS.

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators aims to reap the benefits of UNESCO's unique expertise in collecting and analysing quantitative and qualitative data in the field of culture.

Once the framework is implemented by a city or a country, the analytical material and good practices will help to build a better understanding, with a view to developing a knowledge base with a digital data bank on Culture in the 2030 Agenda. Information collected as part of the implementation of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators in voluntary pilot cities and countries provides a valuable baseline from which to measure progress in addition to directing actions at the local and national levels.

The data also contributes to the formation of a global overview of the state of progress of the contribution of culture to the 2030 Agenda and provides evidence-based and analytical material to support the participation of UNESCO in UN-wide reporting mechanisms related to the 2030 Agenda as well as to the Resolutions of the UN General Assembly pertaining to Culture and Development.

The Data Bank
for the UNESCO

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators Data Bank has been created to receive the submissions of Member States implementing the framework at the national and urban levels.

Sculpture: ‘Momia Guardiana’, Caleta Camarones, Chile. © Regional Program for Protection of the Chinchorro Sites.

Resources

The Publication

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators was launched on the occasion of the Culture of Ministers Forum on 19th November 2019 with more than 120 Ministers of Culture (over 900 participants).The final publication is available online in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian.

Read the publication

Framework Poster

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators Framework Poster showcases the 22 indicators and the four thematic dimensions, as well as the mapping to SDG targets and UNESCO Culture Conventions. The poster is available in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian.

Download the poster

Implementation Video

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators was launched on the occasion of the Culture of Ministers Forum on 19th November 2019 with more than 120 Ministers of Culture (over 900 participants).The final publication is available online in English, French, Arabic, and Spanish.

View the video

Technical Resources

UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators has been developed in collaboration with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

Visit UIS

UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators (CDIS)

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators builds on the past achievements of the CDIS.

Learn more

UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics (FCS)

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators methodology builds on the FCS.

Read the publication

First phase of implementation
2021-2022

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators framework is being implemented by Member States at the national and urban levels.

Rock Art © Jorge Mario Álvarez Arango

UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators Expert Facility

UNESCO established the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators Expert Facility from the pool of experts who attended the International Online Experts Workshop for the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators

The workshop was held from 2 June to 11 June 2020 in four online sessions of two hours each. Forty-five experts from 27 countries participated, the six UNESCO electoral regions were represented. The experts were introduced to the methodology of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators and given guidance on data collection as well as implementation on the national and local levels.

Learn more about the expert facility

UNESCO’s Culture Conventions & Recommendations

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators framework integrates data from reporting on UNESCO Culture Conventions and programmes. Concepts of sustainable development lie at the core of the UNESCO Culture Conventions and programmes, each of them bringing a specific perspective or focus in line with its individual scope and conceptual framework. With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, all of the Conventions have incorporated relevant SDGs within their implementation and monitoring mechanisms by aligning their concepts and identifying specific SDGs or Targets to be integrated into their results framework.

First Consultation on the UNESCO Thematic Indicators for Culture in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by Member States, 2019

The Culture Sector gratefully acknowledges the work of the Member States in carefully preparing their detailed and meticulous responses and the numerous individuals and organizations who have contributed to the consultation. The Member States of UNESCO, their delegations and the relevant ministries, and agencies in each of the responding countries have provided valuable inputs to the survey. The Culture Sector gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics as well as the Secretariats of the Six Culture Conventions and Recommendations.

The summary of the consultation outcomes is included in an Information Document for the occasion of the 207th session of the Executive Board,
(9 - 23 October 2019).

Analytical Report

Related links


UNESCO and Sustainable Development Goals
Learn more →

UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda
Learn more →

UN Habitat - The New Urban Agenda
Learn more →

Partners

The initiative is supported on a global level by the generous contributions of donors and our partners:

The UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators has been developed in collaboration with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) over a period of two years, with inputs from a number of international experts to measure culture’s contribution to the national and local implementation transversally to the different Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda. As a framework of thematic indicators, the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators is intended to support and complement the global indicators agreed upon within the 2030 Agenda.

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