Methodology and indicators for valuing culture, including traditional knowledge, in Oceania
Report prepared by Synexe Consulting Limited for the Human Development Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
Culture has always been an integral component of development. The idea that ‘culture matters’ in development processes is not a new one, but the central role it plays in achieving sustainable development has only recently been recognised by development planners and incorporated into development policy.
Since the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988–1997), a series of significant international meetings have focused on creating harmony between culture and development, harnessing culture to achieve sustainable development, and promoting cultural creativity and diversity through development.
Organisations such as UNESCO have been instrumental in placing culture at the heart of development policy and planning. UNESCO has created a number of conventions to protect all forms of culture, the most recent being the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions 2005
In Oceania the importance of culture to development has been recognised at the highest levels: by the Pacific Ministers of Culture in their 2002 Declaration, which included the promotion of sustainable and profitable cultural industries as a priority; and by the Pacific Islands Forum trade ministers and leaders, who incorporated it into the Pacific Plan (2005). While Oceania is a region rich in culture and cultural diversity, the role played by culture in achieving economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security (the four pillars of the Pacific Plan), is not well understood. Even within the Pacific Plan itself, culture only appears in one of the four pillars (i.e. sustainable development).
As this report will show, culture is integral to achieving all objectives across the four pillars of the Pacific Plan. Culture is fundamental to sustainable development, and in the current climate of global economic recession it has the potential to contribute to economic growth and security through employment linked to services (d’Almeida 2009:2). Promoting cultural values and identities also has the potential to improve social cohesion and wellbeing and to contribute to good governance in a time of crisis.
Secretariat of the Pacific Community