On 2 June 2014 the proposed goals and targets for the Sustainable Development Goals were released. While the document, ‘Introduction and Proposed Goals and Targets on Sustainable Development for the Post 2015 Development Agenda’, includes some references to ‘culture’, Nhimbe Trust in its role as Convener of the NANGO Western Region Culture Cluster, is still keen to see greater and more precise recognition of culture’s role as a driver and enabler of sustainable development in the final document.
Nhimbe Trust and other key international networks have been calling on governments and policy makers defining the post-2015 UN Development Agenda to ensure that targets and indicators on culture be included as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Released by the UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development, chaired by the Permanent Representatives from Hungary and Kenya, the ‘zero-draft’ and related letter and report are now available at http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/owg.html
The 21 page ‘zero draft’ lists 17 Proposed Sustainable Development Goals to be attained by 2030. Each of the first 16 proposed goals lists between 5 and 17 targets (an average of 10 targets per goal). The final proposed goal, number 17 (Strengthen and enhance the means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development), lists 46 targets which relate to the previous 16 proposed goals.
Those targets that mention ‘culture’ are as follows:
Under 4 re Education:
4.7 by 2030 integrate relevant knowledge and skills in education curricula and
training programs, including education for sustainable development and
awareness raising on culture’s contribution to sustainable development
Under 8 re Economic growth:
8.7 create incentives for the development of sustainable tourism which takes into
account community participation, local culture and local products
Under 10 re Inequality:
10.6 promote and respect cultural diversity
Under 11 re cities etc:
11.9 protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
While there are two other mentions of the term ‘culture’, they are used in the sense of 'a culture of ....'
12.7 by 2030 redouble efforts to create a culture of sustainable lifestyles, including
through education, awareness raising, sustainability information on products
and services, policies and incentives
16.7 by 2020 provide information and education on a culture of non-violence
The Progress Report of the OWG, in section 83 under the section on Employment and decent work; social protection; education and culture; youth, notes that ‘Culture and cultural diversity are widely understood to be important to societies’ creativity, cohesion and resilience, but it is not clear that culture per se is “goalable”.'
The letter from the OWG’s co-chairs to the UN’s member states describes the process ahead as follows:
‘… the OWG process has only 10 days of formal work remaining. It is therefore crucial that delegations come prepared with concise and final language that will facilitate timely agreement of both goals and targets. It will be particularly important that we limit the amount of text and the size of the document particularly with regard to the number of targets.’
And the conclusion states:
“we would strongly request that delegations move directly into focused consideration of the proposed goals and targets contained in the zero draft in order to make progress towards a successful and timely conclusion …We would like to reiterate the importance of enumerating sustainable development goals …[that are] action-oriented, concise, easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities’