UN General Assembly debate on role of culture in development

United Nations officials highlighted the need to recognize the vital role of culture in poverty reduction and sustainable growth, and to ensure that it is integrated into the post-2015 development agenda.

As Member States plot the course for the global development agenda after 2015, the target date for achieving the anti-poverty objectives known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the General Assembly convened today’s high-level thematic debate to consider the role and impact of culture on development.

“The significance of the nexus between culture and development for the post-2015 agenda is not yet fully grasped,” said the President of the Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, who convened the debate in cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“Fully embracing the potential of this nexus will also help promote a greater sense of indivisibility and mutual belonging – a feeling that no community or nation can fulfil its potential until it is accompanied by the advancement of the entire mankind.”

He noted that it has not been possible to reach consensus on how to build on the agreed foundations of sustainable development in the discussions that have taken place in recent months. “The gap between means and ends has yet to be bridged – in my view, partly because the cultural component has largely been absent from our discussions.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need to recognize that there is no “one-size-fits-all” development model. “It is not enough to set global targets for all – we need to adapt to each context. Too many well-intended development programmes have failed, because they did not take cultural settings into account. This must be an overarching principle for all development efforts.”

Development has not always focused enough on people, he added. “To mobilize people, we need to understand and embrace their culture. This means encouraging dialogue, listening to individual voices, and ensuring that culture and human rights inform the new course for sustainable development. The fundamental role of culture was not fully acknowledged within the MDGs – as a goal, an overarching principle, or as an enabler.”

In her keynote address, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova told the meeting that no one would like to live in a world without music, art or dance, or with only one language.

“Culture is what we are. It is the wellspring of collective imagination, meaning and belonging. It is also a source of identity and cohesion at a time of change. It is a source of creativity and innovation,” she stated.

“No society in the world can flourish without culture. No development can be sustained without it. Cultural diversity is also a source to find creative solutions to problems. It enhances critical thinking to challenge old models,” she added. “We need to fully acknowledge this power of culture today as we shape a new global agenda to follow 2015.”

The Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark, highlighted the need to think more broadly about the role of culture in development. “As culture is vital to who we are, it is a vital aspect of human development. And to live lives they value, people must be free to choose their identity and to define who they are through their culture.

“With globalization, our world is shrinking as we become more interconnected than ever before,” she continued. “But commensurate with that, our respect for cultural diversity needs to grow. Indeed, respect for cultural diversity and sustainable development are mutually reinforcing and they provide the necessary basis for peace and harmony, which development needs to thrive anywhere.”

Culture, noted the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, affects all the dimensions of development.

“As such, a human-centred, culturally-sensitive approach to development will yield the most effective, sustainable, inclusive outcomes,” he said. “Specifically, a culturally-diverse approach will contribute to economic development, promote social cohesion and foster environmental sustainability.”

He added that, among other benefits, culturally-sensitive approaches provide solutions to complex development issues in an innovative way. “And yet, despite the benefits of cultural diversity, we continue to witness many conflict and extreme underdevelopment worldwide. This is because culture is either missing, misunderstood or worse, politicized.

EQAF 2013: call for contributions open until 2 August

The University of Gothenburg, Sweden, will host the 8th European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) on 21-23 November 2013.
Through a mix of plenary and parallel sessions, the 2013 EQAF, entitled “Working together to take quality forward”, will combine practice-oriented or research-based discussions and presentations of current developments in quality assurance. This year the Forum will specifically explore how both individuals and organisations can better understand the role that quality assurance can play in their daily lives, and how they can get engaged and work together to take quality forward.
The Forum organisers, ENQA, ESU, EUA and EURASHE, have now opened a call for contributions for QA practitioners in higher education institutions, quality assurance agencies, students, institutional leaders and researchers in the field. Two types of contributions are sought: papers and workshop proposals. The deadline to submit contributions is 2 August 2013. ENQA would like to particularly encourage contributions from quality assurance agencies, to ensure that the “voice of the agencies” is heard also on this occasion. In the selection of papers high value is given also to collaborative proposals for example between an agency and a higher education institution.
For further information:

EQAF 2013 Submission Form Paper:

EQAF 2013 Submission Form Workshop:


Online course on Climate Change and Flexible Master’s degree at the University of Copenhagen

Do you want to further your education on climate change and receive teaching from international experts within the field, including three co-authors of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?

Would you like the flexibility of an online course, which builds on proven pedagogical methods, that ensures a high learning outcome?

Then the 15 ECTS MSc online course Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation (CCIAM) offered by the University of Copenhagen in collaboration with Oxford University, University of Essex, Australian National University and the Danish Meteorological Institute is exactly what you are looking for!

The CCIAM course is based on 15 E-learning modules with weekly deadlines as well as submission of individual assignments and group assignments. The course starts with two introduction days in Copenhagen on the 7th and 8th of February 2013 (it is possible to attend via webcam) and ends on the 21st of June 2013.

The course can be followed by everyone with a BSc or MSc degree. The tuition fee for continuing education students is 5.850 DKK for EU citizens (corresponds to approximately 790 euros) and 19.950 DKK for non-EU citizens (corresponds to approximately 2.690 euros).

The application deadline is the 7th of January 2013, but since the available spots are limited and the course is very popular, you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

If you would like to apply for the online course Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation in Block 3+4 (Course number: LNAK10069) as a continuing education student please fill out, print and scan the application form at: http://www.science.ku.dk/english/courses-and-programmes/forms/Application_bsc_msc_courses.pdf/ and send it via e-mail to efteruddannelse@life.ku.dk (CC to cbh@life.ku.dk and jevgeniy@life.ku.dk).

If you are interested you may combine the Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation course with our other online course Environmental Management in Europe (www.environmental-management.dk), our 10 week on-campus course Climate Solutions (www.climate-solutions.dk) and a Master’s project to obtain a Flexible Master’s degree in Environmental Management and Climate Change at the University of Copenhagen.

More information about the course and the Flexible Master can be found at www.climate-change.dk and by contacting the course leader at cbh@life.ku.dk or the daily coordinator at jevgeniy@life.ku.dk.


Máster Internacional en Energía, Agroecología y Territorio

El agotamiento de los combustibles fósiles, el crecimiento de las concentraciones de CO2 en la atmósfera, la producción de alimentos y la gestión sustentable del territorio, son problemas cada vez más presentes en las agendas locales y regionales. Se plantean desde la necesidad de asegurar  la calidad de vida de las personas, la seguridad alimentaria y la seguridad energética, a la vez que se preserva la calidad de la biodiversidad, el clima, el agua, los recursos, y en general los ecosistemas que sirven de soporte a la vida. Es por ello que cada vez son requeridos más conocimientos, ideas y propuestas orientadas hacia formas más sostenibles de organización de la sociedad, los sistemas productivos, y el abastecimiento energético.

El Máster Internacional en Energía, Agroecología y Territorio (Tríptico) ofrece una formación novedosa, actual y propositiva, que, desde la perspectiva del nuevo paradigma de la sostenibilidad, busca la especialización de los/as estudiantes y profesionales en estos ámbitos.

Está promovido por una extensa red de universidades y centros de investigación, en Europa y Latinoamérica,  que garantiza unos estudios de calidad, centrados en los avances tecnológicos, los conocimientos y las estrategias más innovadoras. Las instituciones participantes en la red internacional, son: la Cátedra UNESCO de Sostenibilidad de la Universidad Politécnica de Catalunya, la Universitat de Lleida (UdL) y el Institut de Recerca i Tecnologies Agroalimentaries (IRTA), en España; la Universidade do Estado de Bahia (UNEB) y la Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA), en Brasil; la Universidad Católica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (UCA), en Paraguay; la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, (UNAN – Managua), en Nicaragua, el Bradford Centre for Sustainable Environments (BCSE), en UK;  el Centro Internacional del Agua, Universidad del Cauca, en Colombia; y el Colegio de Postgraduados de Puebla (COLPUE), en México.

Para conseguir esta especialización, el programa formativo se compone de un conjunto de contenidos, agrupados en asignaturas comunes y optativas, configurando cuatro líneas de especialización:

  • Línea de Energías Renovables,
  • Línea de Eficiencia y Gestión de la Energía
  • Línea de Agroecología y
  • Línea de Gestión del Agua y el Territorio

La elección de la especialización queda definida por el alumno en el proceso de matrícula.

El Máster se oferta en formato online y semipresencial.


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