In September 2015, the United Nations summit has adopted the post-2015 development agenda.In this Framework and as an outcome of ADNE Lab session on “Culture and Development: How to leverage the benefits of culture for sustainable development?”, that was organised during the European Development Days 2015, ADNE and its Partners adopted a Manifesto to raise awareness of global policy makers on the importance of culture in development. By this Manifesto, signatories strongly call on governments and policy-makers at all levels, who will play a role in implementing the post-2015 global development framework and sustainable development goals to place culture at the heart of future policies for sustainable development.


Stakeholder’s Manifesto

 “Every nation has a message of its own to deliver to the world. Every nation, every human being has, by its culture and its positive identity, ways to bring to humanity the genius of its imagination, creativity and the expression of its inner wealth.” Louis Michel; MEP- Co-chair of ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

1.  At the initiative of African Diaspora Network in Europe –ADNE ( 12 organizations from African Diaspora Networks (ADNE, Africa Rise, AKDBL, NIDOE-BELUX, Meridia Partners, Ola-Dele Kuku Projects, Euromed-CDC, Dare Authenticity, Roots Events)  and European and International organizations (Foundation for European Sustainable Tourism (FEST) and UNESCO) participated in the European Development Days 2015 (EDD15) and extensively debated on  the essential role of Culture in Development.

2. European development days (EDD) are Europe’s leading forum on development and international cooperation. The forum builds on a core belief: cooperation is the cornerstone of a fairer world. The forum consists of major development meetings where it is possible to engage in profound reflection – with all actors and stakeholders- on the future of development. 2015 is a pivotal year for development, the European Year of Development and the target year for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); it is the year during which important decisions will be taken regarding the post-2015 Development Agenda (Financing for Development, adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN convention on Climate Change).

3. This Manifesto was adopted for publication and dissemination among key actors in the field of Development cooperation mainly the actors of the EU-ACP partnership as an outcome of the Lab session on “Culture and Development: How to leverage the benefits of culture for sustainable development?”

 I. Stakeholders Finding and Analysis

4. Whereas the intrinsic linkages between culture and development is internationally recognized, culture was not included in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000.  It is only in 2005 that World Summit Outcome Document adopted by the UN General Assembly acknowledged the world’s cultural diversity and recognized that all cultures contribute to the enrichment of humankind.

5. Strengthening creative industries and protecting natural and cultural heritage have proved to be effective instruments of economic development. Culture brings diversity to development by bringing together different ways of thinking, acting and solving problems.

6. The Post-2015 Development agenda should fully acknowledge the role of culture as a system of values and a resource and framework to build truly sustainable development and create a new global political space that takes into account cultural diversity in all aspects ranging from cultural heritage, cultural tourism, and creative industries. Development itself is a cultural expression, people are cultural beings. Culture is therefore a binding ingredient in the development efforts. Placing it at the heart of the Post-2015 development agenda is one of the essential investments for a vigorous and thriving globalization process

i) Culture is a tool for economic growth and poverty eradication

7. Culture is the lifeblood for any aspect of sustainable development. It brings diversity to development by bringing together different ways of thinking, acting and solving problems. Cultural diversity is a true engine to knowledge and practice sharing. Through creative industries and artistic creations (song, paintings, celluloid, crafting, manufacturing, buildings, human constructions etc.), culture is in the cornerstone of growth and innovation. It creates jobs by enabling interactions where people produce and engage with others.

8. Culture provides opportunities for jobs and incomes mainly for the vulnerable categories (women, girls, minorities and youth).  Creative industries promote small & medium-sized enterprises, and trade & investments based on materials and resources that are renewable, environmentally sustainable, locally available and accessible to all groups within society.

9. Sustainable economic development of a community always builds on the sustainable use of its know-how and its capacity to adapt the ways of living to the global evolution

ii)  Culture  is a tool for education and democracy

 10. Culture plays a key role in creating a platform for dialogue. It creates the opportunity for communication through literature, creative arts, cinema etc. Culture as a medium of communication empowers society by promoting democratic processes and freedom of expression. 

11. Creativity and artistic expression enable to people to learn from the experiences of the past, address gender issues, discrimination, violence and other society’s problems.

12. The practice of arts and literature represent an efficient tool to convey civic messages and allow self-criticism. Creative enterprises, production activities, cinema, dance, shows, theatre and music are excellent vehicles human values and principles.

13. Cultural activities promote better integration of democratic principles and values and the ownership these rules by all citizens.

iii)  Culture is a tool for Conflict Resolution

 14. Whereas conflicts continue to recur in many regions of the world, thus hindering the growth of developing countries, culture plays an important role in promoting mutual understanding between people; it promotes reconciliation between warring parties.

15.Free participation in cultural life, freedom of artistic expression, access to cultural goods and services are essential to forging inclusive and equitable societies for they contribute in establishing a rights-based society, mutual respect and understanding through cultural and linguistic diversity.

iv) Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism

16. Tourism and culture are powerful tools for developing countries if planned and managed in a sustainable manner with clear governmental commitment and vision.

17. Sustainable development and management of destinations, cultural attractions, heritage sites requires the involvement of local communities, thus contributing to the inclusion of these populations and to poverty eradication.

18. A great number of World Heritage Sites and cultural attractions are located in countries where the population lives below the poverty threshold. Many tourism and cultural projects have fallen short of achieving substantial results in developing countries, and in addition, UNESCO sites are often not able to generate the anticipated multiplier impact. Thus, a proper methodology for project management in two key sectors of sustainable development – tourism and culture – is long overdue and therefore innovative actions and policies are needed.

 II. Recommendations

Signatories strongly call on governments and policy-makers at all levels, who will play a role in defining the post-2015 global development framework and sustainable development goals to give consideration to the following recommendations aimed at placing culture at the heart of future policies for sustainable development.

Signatories request to all concerned actors to:

19. Include culture in all development  policies and programs as a tool and lifeblood for sustainable development;

20. Promote cultural creations and creative industries as key instruments for innovation and economic growth;

21. Sustainably protect, safeguard and promote cultural heritage, sustainable tourism and leisure industries that contribute to the socio-economic development;

22. Facilitate and promote capacity building activities related to culture and tourism to empower leaders, talents and communities;

23. Enhance project management and leadership skills at destination level;

24. Promote the financing for cultural activities, creative industries and the protection of cultural heritage;

25. Strongly combat  the looting of the cultural heritage and ensure the protection of intellectual property rights in developing countries;

26. Promote cultural heritage and nation branding for African countries in order to  enable recognition of African cities,  and use culture  as a tool for achieving sustainable urban development and management thus promote sustainable tourism and economic growth;

27. Facilitate the participation of  cultural actors in decision making process at different levels;

28. Create a new global political space that takes into account cultural diversity;

29. Take  into consideration the foundations of human principles and the uniqueness of populations embodied in their culture.

30. Mobilize culture as a tool for mutual understanding  between peoples and nations and for peace and reconciliation;

31. Ensure cultural rights for all to promote inclusive social development;

32. Leverage culture for poverty reduction and inclusive economic development;

33. Build on culture to promote environmental sustainability, resilience to disasters and combat climate change;

34. Promote culture as a key instrument for education and safeguard the transmission of culture to future generations.


African Diaspora Network in Europe (ADNE):

Foundation for European Sustainable Tourism FEST:

Africa Rise asbl:

Association of Kenyan Diaspora in Belgium and Luxembourg (AKDBL):

Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Europe, Belgium – Luxembourg (NIDOE-BELUX):

Meridia Partners:

Ola-Dele Kuku Projects:


Dare Authenticity:

Roots Events:


Radio M’Boté :

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