Culture ministers: culture is a driving force for sustainable development

09.11.21 | News
arknat arkitekter

The Arknat architecture festival featuring students from all over the Nordic Region.

Art and culture have an indispensable intrinsic value. They will also be a great help when it comes to achieving our vision of the Nordic Region as the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030, according to a declaration issued by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture (MR-K) on Tuesday.

While the COP26 climate summit continues in Glasgow, the Nordic culture ministers focused on the role of art and culture for sustainable development in their declaration.

“We emphasise that a green artistic and cultural life is important for the present and the future. The Nordic civil societies, and in particular children and young people, are active initiators and implementers within the Nordic culture sector in the green transition,” they say.

Culture and language

Cultural co-operation, which was the starting point for the establishment of the Nordic Council of Ministers half a century ago, remains central to Nordic co-operation. 

“Art and culture have inalienable intrinsic value, so conditions relating to art and culture must be strengthened, and art and culture must be accessible to everyone in our societies. At the same time we see that cultural co-operation has much to offer in terms of supporting sustainable development of society,” the declaration continues.

“Art and culture also help us to manage various global challenges, such as the climate crisis or the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Freedom of expression, digitalisation and the Nordic cultural institutions

Inclusive art and culture, digitalisation and education, the important knowledge held by indigenous peoples and freedom of expression are all important elements that the ministers highlight as necessary for sustainable development in the Nordic Region.  The declaration also draws attention to the importance of the five cultural institutions: the Nordic House in Reykjavík, the Nordic House in the Faroe Islands, the Nordic Institute in Greenland, the Nordic Institute in Åland and the Nordic Culture Point in Helsinki.

“We emphasise that all five pan-Nordic cultural institutions have an important strategic mandate in culture policy. One of their tasks is to increase knowledge of and understanding for the role of art and culture as a basis for sustainable development. The work includes showing and mediating good examples, and encouraging green production, distribution, and consumption of culture.”

International co-operation

The challenges currently being discussed, in particular at COP26, are global, and international co-operation and sharing of experience are high on the agenda of the Nordic culture ministers. By showcasing sustainable Nordic solutions and encouraging dialogue, the ministers seek to trigger progress in international environmental and climate co-operation, including during Nordic Bridges in Canada next year.

The path to 2030

The ministers round off their declaration by voicing support for the Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision of the Nordic Region as the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030 and stating how they will work to achieve this.

“We will implement the Co-operation Programme on Culture Policy that we have adopted for 2021–2024. At the heart of the programme, culture stands as an all-embracing, free, and supporting force for sustainable development in our societies, and particularly in the efforts to attain a green, competitive, and socially sustainable Nordic region. We regard it as important that Vision 2030 offers the art and culture sector good opportunities for collaboration over sector boundaries.”

The declaration was approved by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture at a meeting in Copenhagen on 3 November.