Creative economy and its role in building back better inclusive and peaceful societies

On 9 December, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia, in collaboration with UNCTAD and UNESCO, co-hosted a virtual event “the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021: Inclusive Creative, for Global Recovery”.


This preparatory event provided a platform for UN member states to rally political momentum behind the development of a creative economy as a way to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, foster innovation and provide opportunities and empowerment for all in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants called for strengthening the political commitment to support creative economy as key for the implementation of 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.


As per UNESCO’s report “Investing in Creativity”, cultural and creative industries currently provide nearly 30 million jobs worldwide and employ more people aged 15−29 than any other sector.


In his opening remark, H.E. Mohammad K. Koba, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations in New York, stressed the importance of strengthening partnership and called on the member states to double down on their efforts in supporting and empowering women and girls, local communities and small businesses that are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 health crisis.


Speaking on behalf of the President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Farrukh Iqbal Khan, Deputy Chief of Cabinet of the Office of President of General Assembly, underscored that culture is a key issue for the 75th session of the General Assembly and that together with UNESCO the office is organizing the General Assembly High Level Meeting on culture and sustainable development in the spring of 2021. Stressing the need to protect and support creative economy in the aftermath of COVID-19, he called upon the global community to place culture at the center of its policy making and as a key component of economic and social recovery through partnership with different sectors and communities, including indigenous people, youth and women.

Adding her voice to the panelists, Mrs Herlina, Head of Multilateral Relation Section on Creative Economy at the Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia, outlined the 3-step strategy – “Reworking Recovery, Resilience Reimagined, Robust Revival”– for the implementing the International Year of the Creative Economy 2021, under the theme “Inclusively Creative: A Global Recovery.


Sharing the Slovenian example of investing in creative economy, Mrs Petra Kežman, Head of Department for Public Diplomacy and International Cooperation in Culture at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, briefed the audience on the International Conference on “Symptoms of Creativity”. “Culture and creativity are powerful – not only as sources of identity, enjoyment and self-actualisation, but also as the critical drivers of cohesion, inclusion, innovation and growth”, said Ms. Kežman.


Mrs Marisa Henderson, Chief of Creative Economy of Division of International Trade and Commodities at UNCTAD, briefed on the International Year of Creative Economy’s roadmap. She further introduced the activities to implement the International Year such as the kick-off International Year of Creative Economy (January 2021), UNCTAD 15 Creative Economy Forum (23/24 April 2021), the second World Conference on Creative Economy (May 2021) and others.


Representing UNESCO, Mr Toussiant Tiendrebeogo, Chief of Diversity of Cultural Expressions Entity, stressed that to harness the full potential of cultural and creative industries, policymakers need to address the challenges and vulnerabilities of artists and cultural professionals who have been profoundly affected by the current pandemic. He highlighted that UNESCO will officially launch the International Year of Creative Economy at the 14th Intergovernmental Committee of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions which will take place in Paris from 2-5 February, 2021. “At a time when all countries are working tirelessly in response to this unprecedented crisis, UNESCO firmly advocates for the cultural and creative industries not to be left behind’, he said. To this end, on 15 April, UNESCO launched a global movement – ResiliArt – to shed light on the current state of creative industries, capturing experiences of resilience from artists through virtual discussions. Additionally, Mr Tiendrebeogo also highlighted the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), a multi-donor fund established under Article 18 of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries that are Parties to the 2005 Convention.

United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2021 as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, a proposal put forth by Indonesia and introduced through its resolution 74/198. The Assembly further welcomed the efforts of UNCTAD and UNESCO, among other UN agencies, in promoting the creative economy for sustainable development.