The Florence Declaration on Culture, Creativity and Sustainable Development (2014)

© UNESCO / Antonio Viscido, Third UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries, Florence, 2014 |

Preface: The Florence Declaration on Culture, Creativity and Sustainable Development (2014) was adopted by the 3rd UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries, Florence, Italy, 4 Oct., 2014.

Valued at over $620 billion, the global trade in cultural goods and services has doubled over the past decade, demonstrating that culture is a powerful force for both economic and social development. Cultural goods and services are not just ordinary merchandises that generate jobs, income, innovation and growth, they also contribute to social inclusion and justice.

The third UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries was held in Florence, Italy on 2-4 October 2014. The topic of the forum was ‘Culture, Creativity and Sustainable Development: Research, Innovation, Opportunities’. This meeting followed the previous two World Forums on Culture and Cultural Industries, held in Monza in 2009 and 2011. This third edition of the Forum was organized in Florence in cooperation with the Italian Government and with the support of the Tuscany Region and the Municipality of Florence. Discussions at the Florence Forum focused on the need to ensure that culture is duly taken into account in international development policies and strategies, especially at a time when the post-2015 development agenda is being elaborated, which was highlighted by the Florence Declarationadopted at the end of the Forum.

Inaugurated in Florence (Italy), UNESCO’s Third World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries (FOCUS), examined how culture can contribute to a sustainable future by stimulating employment, growth and innovation. The Forum, closed on 4 October, marks a decisive step in formulating the United Nations’ programme for sustainable development after 2015.

More than 300 public and private sector representatives from the world of culture are taking part in the event at the Palazzo Vecchio. It is co-organized by UNESCO, the Government of Itlay, the Region of Tuscany Region, and the Municipality of Florence.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, at the opening of the Forum, declared

“Culture is the petrol of countries that are rich in history and talent. In a global economy of knowledge, investing in culture represents a forward looking decision.”

“I believe countries must invest in culture with the same determination they bring to investing in energy resources, in new technologies. […] In a difficult economic environment, we must look for activities that reinforce social cohesion, and culture offers solutions in this regard,” she added.

The Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Dario Franceschini, the President of the Tuscany Region, Enrico Rossi, the Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, alongside ministers and senior representatives of Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Indonesia, Mali, Morocco, Myanmar and Serbia, will share their perspectives with a view to adopting, at the end of their work, a “Florence Declaration.” The Declaration will propose effective ways to include culture in the post-2015 development agenda, which will be debated at the General Assembly of the United Nations next year.

A roundtable debate, held as a side event of the Forum on 3 October (5 to 6 p.m.), will focus on several recent cultural heritage preservation projects led by UNESCO in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Jordan and Mali with Italian Government funding. Ministers and senior representatives of those countries, alongside the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the experts who worked with UNESCO on implementing these projects, will take part in the debate.

The Forum is also hosting a photographic exhibition on 50 years of cooperation between UNESCO and Italy for the safeguarding of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage.

The two previous UNESCO World Forums on Culture and Cultural Industries took place in Monza (Italy) in 2009 and 2011.

UNESCO and Creative Industries

The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) defines cultural and creative industries as:

“sectors of organised activity whose principal purpose is the production or reproduction, promotion, distribution and/or commercialisation of goods, services and activities of a cultural, artistic or heritage-related nature.”

This approach emphasises more than just the industrially made products of human creativity, it makes relevant the entire productive chain, as well as the specific functions of each sector involved in bringing these creations to the public. Thus, the definition also encompasses related activities, such as publicity and graphic design, which are decisive factors in this process. (UNESCO Santiago)

UNESCO | Diversity of Cultural Expressions:
UNESCO | Creative Industries:

Cultural Times – The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries

Dec 2015 – Published by CISAC, the Cultural and Creative Industries study for the first time quantifies the global economic and social contribution of this sector.

The world has a shared history and a rich, diverse cultural heritage. This heritage is cherished globally as an asset that belongs to us all, yet gives our societies their identity and binds them together, nurturing a rich cultural and creative present and future. That is why stakeholders of the creative and cultural world must do everything in their power to preserve this heritage and the diversity of actual cultural content, amid a political and economic climate that is subject to major upheavals.

The idea behind this report is that the economic weight of cultural and creative industries (CCI) in mature and emerging economies is partially described, misunderstood and undervalued. This is why the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC — the body representing authors’ societies worldwide) — decided to commission a global study of the economic and social impact of CCI, focusing especially upon revenues and employment.

[PDF] Cultural Times – The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries

Understanding Creative Industries

Creative industries are becoming increasingly important components of modern post-industrial knowledge-based economies. Not only are they thought to account for higher than average growth and job creation, they are also vehicles of cultural identity that play an important role in fostering cultural diversity.

During the last decade a number of governments around the world have recognised this fact and started to develop specific policies to promote them. This mainstreaming of what was once considered a sector of marginal interest, which received limited attention from researchers, has led to a growing body of analysis, statistics and mapping exercises on the relationship between culture, creative industries and economic development to give officials in these countries the raw data they need to make policy. However, the sector is still poorly understood and many governments remain to be convinced of its potential, while trying to accurately measure economic activity in the sector poses considerable obstacles.

As momentum builds to prioritise this field of activity within economic development policies, the demand for more precise and sophisticated cultural statistics at international, regional and national level is set to grow and governments should support and encourage initiatives in this field. The Global Alliance, dedicated to promoting the cultural industries , such as cinema, music, publishing and crafts, fully supports the progress of recent years to map and study this sector more closely and actively works to advocate further research, disseminate best practices and collect published studies in this field on its website.

Cultural Industries and Creative Industries

The term cultural industries refers to industries which combine the creation, production and commercialization of creative contents which are intangible and cultural in nature. The contents are typically protected by copyright and they can take the form of a good or a service. Cultural industries generally include printing, publishing and multimedia, audiovisual, phonographic and cinematographic productions as well as crafts and design.

The term creative industries encompasses a broader range of activities which include the cultural industries plus all cultural or artistic production, whether live or produced as an individual unit. The creative industries are those in which the product or service contains a substantial element of artistic or creative endeavour and include activities such as architecture and advertising. In this article, these terms are used precisely and are not synonymous nor interchangeable.

[PDF] Understanding Creative Industries – Unesco




2-4 Oct., 2014.


The Third UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries, Florence, Italy, 2-4 Oct., 2014.


  • The Florence Declaration puts forth the core principles and priorities to be included in the elaboration process of the post-2015 development agenda.
  • The Florence Declaration calls upon governments, civil society and private sector actors to take action in global partnership to promote creative environments, processes and products.




Intellectual Property


About Sunney 116 Articles
I am currently a Professor of Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China.

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