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Culture is vital in sustainable development

Linking the Arts to Environment and Sustainable Development Issues

The seminar Culture and Sustainability in Rio+20 (19 June 2012) took place ahead of the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was organised by the Ministry of Culture of Brazil and the World Organisation of United Cities and Local Governments. Experts discussed how the Rio+20 Final Declaration should embrace a cultural dimension in formulating local, national and international strategies for sustainable development and that culture should be included as the fourth pillar.

ASEF Cultural Exchange Deputy Director, Ms. Katelijn Verstraete, was invited to present ASEF’s ongoing work on connecting arts and sustainability.

“Culture is a key driver in sustainable development, not just the fourth pillar of development,” commented Dr Keith Nurse, Director of the Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services, University of the West Indies, Barbados. Dr Nurse was one of the speakers at the seminar. He further stressed the need to create new values around which we create the economy and society.

All speakers called for a more proactive approach from the cultural sector to get the governments on the right side of the culture and sustainability debate: ‘culture should lead and change the discourse if we want real sustainable development’.

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