During the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development – MONDIACULT 2022, held in Mexico City, a side event “Data collection & measurement of culture towards evidence-based policies for sustainable development” was organized on 29 September 2022 to illustrate how data on culture can inform policies and make visible the contribution of culture to sustainable development.
The side-event was opened by UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, Mr. Ernesto Ottone R., who stressed, “The need for new tools and mechanisms to measure the contribution of culture to sustainable development is high on the agenda at this MONDIACULT conference” and highlighted that thanks to the pilot implementation of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators “significant data has already been collected across all regions, and a global data bank has been developed to gather, update, and display the data by country and city.” At the opening of MONDIACULT 2022 on 28 September 2022, UNESCO Director-General, Ms. Audrey Azoulay, indicated that cultural diplomacy needs to have the appropriate means, including tools such as indicators and common definitions to measure, make decisions and compare. She highlighted in this regard the development of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators, which aims at standardizing data and making more tangible culture’s role and its positive impact for instance for employment and gender equality.
The speakers of the side event included the honorable Ministers of Culture of Burkina Faso, Colombia, Morocco, Romania, and the Philippines, and the Mayor of the city of Baguio, in the Philippines. They recalled that the fragmentation and insufficient availability of culture-related data produced by different institutions have made culture’s valuable contribution to sustainable development largely invisible and hindered funding allocated to culture. They recognized the need to dispose of reliable data collection systems, including quantitative and qualitative measurement and monitoring mechanisms and shared their experience on the implementation of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators and its relevance for the elaboration of evidence-based cultural policies.
They praised the innovative character of the framework, which supported their countries and cities in establishing data collection mechanisms and coordination between a wide range of stakeholders (ministries, government agencies, members of civil society, NGOs, etc.) in the field of culture and from education and economy sectors among others. The implementation led to concrete measures such as the establishment of a Culture Network, the creation of dedicated inter-agencies steering committees, the development of Satellite accounts for culture, the enactment of legislation for heritage conservation and management, to name a few of the significant and long-lasting transformation achieved by the UNESCO initiative. A video dedicated to the implementation of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators was also screened during the side-event releasing some of the first data collected from the pilots.
Speakers answered several questions raised by attendees on the opportunity for other countries to implement the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators, acknowledging some challenges, such as developing common definitions for culture at the international level while keeping in mind national specificities. However, they stressed that implementing the framework was far more rewarding as it represented a crucial first step to understand the culture sector, create transversal partnerships with stakeholders, and help promoting the integration of culture in strategies and public policies.
Representatives of the European Union and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), organizations that have provided financial support to the pilot implementation of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators also welcomed the efforts made towards the strategic positioning of culture in the global sustainable development agenda.
At the closure of MONDIACULT 2022, the Rapporteur of the Conference, H.E Hilmar Fahrid, Vice-Minister of Culture of Indonesia, observed that “the need to invest in cultural data was highlighted to monitor the transversal contribution of the creative economy and support evidence-based interventions, including through the implementation of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators”
The side-event was attended onsite and online by around 160 participants.
For more information on the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators, visit: https://whc.unesco.org/en/culture2030indicators/
For more information on UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development – MONDIACULT 2022, consult: https://www.unesco.org/en/mondiacult2022
For more information on the side-event, consult: https://articles.unesco.org/en/articles/mondiacult-2022-data-collection-and-measurement-culture-towards-evidence-based-policies-sustainable