United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

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.

UNESCO Cultural and Creative Industries

UNESCO | Cultural and Creative Industries

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)

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

UNESCO – The Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity

UNESCO | Diversity of Cultural Expressions

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.

Understanding Creative Industries

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.


UNESCO designates 66 new Creative Cities

UNESCO | 66 new Creative Cities
This 30 October 2019, 66 cities have been designated as UNESCO Creative Cities by the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay. As laboratories of ideas and innovative practices, the UNESCO Creative Cities bring a tangible contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through innovative thinking and action. Through their commitment, cities are championing sustainable development actions that directly benefit communities at urban level.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network now counts a total of 246 cities.

The member cities that form part of the Network come from all continents and regions with different income levels and populations. They work together towards a common mission: placing creativity and the creative economy at the core of their urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable, in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


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.

Download PDF:
Cultural Times – The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries

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

UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)

UNESCO | Creative Cities Network

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 180 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

The UCCN is one of UNESCO’s key partners in implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

World Heritage

Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat
Rani-ki-Vav, on the banks of the Saraswati River, was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constructed since the 3rd millennium BC. They evolved over time from what was basically a pit in sandy soil towards elaborate multi-storey works of art and architecture.
> Rani Ki Vav: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Rani Ki Vav: UNESCO World Heritage Site

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded on 16 November 1945. For this specialized United Nations agency, it is not enough to build classrooms in devastated countries or to publish scientific breakthroughs. Education, Social and Natural Science, Culture and Communication are the means to a far more ambitious goal: building peace in the minds of men and women

Today, UNESCO functions as a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter to forge universal agreements on emerging ethical issues. The Organization also serves as a clearinghouse – for the dissemination and sharing of information and knowledge – while helping Member States to build their human and institutional capacities in diverse fields. In short, UNESCO promotes international co-operation among its 193 Member States and 7 Associate Members in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.