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Culturelink review, no.30/April 2000 - contents - imprint - archive

Cultural Policies for Development

The workshop on Cultural Policies for Development: Assessing needs, devising tools, imagining new methods took place in Gällöfsta, Sweden, 10-13 September 1999. It represented a key step in the restoration of a cultural policy component in the cultural programme of UNESCO.

The process was set in motion by the World Commission on Culture and Development, whose report entitled Our Creative Diversity (see no. 18/April 1996, pp. 35-37, of the Culturelink Review) linked culture to specific political and societal concerns, pointing towards policy solutions and providing new frameworks to envision a culture and development paradigm.

As a logical corollary of this reasoning, the World Commission called for the simultaneous broadening and "centering" of cultural policies. The Stockholm Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development (1998) was conceived to take up this challenge, and indeed the Action Plan that the conference adopted called upon UNESCO to strike out in several new directions (extracts of the Action Plan were published in no. 25/August 1998, pp. 45-51, of the Culturelink Review). One suggestion was to activate once again the Organization's functions as a world standard-setter, guide and reference point, so as to help embed culture in overall policy-making.

A preliminary framework for a new set of activities on cultural policies for development was therefore prepared immediately after the Stockholm Conference. This was submitted to, and endorsed by, UNESCO's Executive Board in the autumn of 1998. It envisaged several means by which the Organization could deliver effective services to the Member States as well as to the non-governmental actors on the cultural policy scene. Further reflection and consultation led to the elaboration of a programme which was then approved by UNESCO's General Conference in November 1999. Shortly before this, UNESCO's newly established Cultural Policies for Development Unit and the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO organized a workshop to test the working hypotheses and enrich the strategy on cultural policies for development that had been set out for 2000-2001. A mixed group of government officials, academics, area specialists and cultural activists from all regions of the world were brought together in the rural setting of Gällöfsta, Sweden. Their deliberations tested the assumptions, methods and strategies designed to serve governments and other actors involved in the making of cultural policies. The workshop thus contributed to the new programme which has just been launched (and will be presented by Y.R. Isar, the Director of the Cultural Policies for Development Unit, in a future issue of the Culturelink Review).

(Further information on the workshop, including its report, may be obtained from the Cultural Policies for Development Unit, fax: +33-1-45 68 57 07; e-mail: k.diallo@unesco.org)

This dossier therefore presents the three working tools used during the workshop:

  • Background Document prepared by UNESCO's Cultural Policies for Development Unit;
  • Culture, Human Development and the Need for an International Research Agenda, a paper written by Karl Eric Knutsson and Carl Johan Kleberg on behalf of the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation;
  • Cultural Policy Reviews, an overview of the Council of Europe cultural policy review process prepared by Christopher Gordon.

UNESCO, Cultural Policies for Development Unit


  • Workshop on Cultural Policies for Development: Introduction
  • Assessing Needs, Devising Tools, Imagining New Methods
    Background Document
  • Culture, Human Development and the Need for an International Research Agenda
    by Carl Johan Kleberg and Karl Eric Knutsson
  • Cultural Policy Reviews
    by Christopher Gordon