UN chief stresses importance of culture in development

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Millennium Development Goals

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday stressed the importance of embracing people's cultures in efforts to promote development.

Secretary-General Ban addressed a meeting of the General Assembly attended by senior government ministers and officials to debate culture and development.

He noted that less than 1,000 days of action remain before the 2015 deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals, the MDGs, to improve people's lives, including by eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

The Secretary-General said too many well-intended development programmes have failed, because they did not take cultural settings into account.

"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. But in the past decade, the power of culture has been increasingly recognized by Member States." (32")

Mr. Ban said culture is now widely recognized as an enabler of sustainability, especially when a people-centred approach is integrated into development and peace-building.

Donn Bobb, United Nations

Duration: 1'19"

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