The International Congress: “Culture: Key to Sustainable Development” was held in Hangzhou (China) from the 15th until the 17th of May 2013.
This was the first international congress organized by UNESCO, which focus specifically on the linkages between culture and sustainable development since the Stockholm Conference in 1998.
The main purpose of the congress was to set clear and concrete recommendations in order to harness the power of culture
and the creative industries for sustainable development.
If achieving sustainability is first and foremost about making an appropriate use of the planet’s resources, then culture must be at the center of our development strategies, since cultures frame people’s relationship to others in their society and the world around them, including the natural environment, and condition their behaviors.
They were in total 450 participants, global leaders, decision makers, thinkers, the United Nations agencies, Civil Society and the private sector took part in this high-level thematic discussions and panels.
Representatives from IFLA The International Federation of Landscape Architects, Desiree Martínez President and Martha Fajardo Former President and the Latin American Landscape Initiative LALI chair, participated as speakers on the session “Culture: a driver and an enabler of social cohesion”, and also to participate in the high level Preparatory Workshop of the Hangzhou Congress, previously to the conference on 14 May.
At the workshop and sessions we asked participants “to support the idea of global, regional and local landscape initiatives
aimed to promote worldwide, appropriate landscape safeguarding legislation and regulations, to strengthen international
collaboration, exchanges and capacity building efforts, and to promote the adoption of an international landscape convention”
We fully support the UNESCO new approach, because Culture is transversal and cross-cutting concern and, as such, affects all the
dimensions of development. Culture is about creativity, heritage, and sense of belonging, knowledge and diversity. These values
are being recognized as the cultural dimension (the fourth pillar) of sustainable development at local, national and international level.
Integrating culture in the World agenda is a great achivement! And it is great for landscape too, since it has become clear, that landscape is the territorial dimension of culture!
Mr. Francesco Bandarin, stress the importance to create and strengthen regional initiatives like the LALI and build a serious alliance of stakeholders (international organizations, NGOs, public and private bodies etc).
The event concludes with The Hangzhou Declaration Placing Culture at the heart of Sustainable Development Policies. We believe that the time has come to a new era of global development “The extraordinary power of culture to foster and enable truly
sustainable development is especially evident when a people-center and place-based approach is integrated into development programs and peace-building initiatives”
We call on governments, policy makers, who will play a role in defining the post-2015 UN global development framework and sustainable development goals to support and give consideration to the actions detailed in the final resolution
IFLA Former President
More information on UNESCO’s Congress and the HANGZHOU Declaration