Sustainability and cultural development under the spotlight

Cultural development Afghanistan

 ROME -- The International Symposium on ‘Cultural Heritage & Development: A challenge or a contribution to sustainability?’ is being  organized by the UNESCO Afghanistan Office in cooperation with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the World Bank Group and the Italian Government (MIBACT). The event will take place in Rome from Wednesday to Friday, and will be convened within the framework of ‘The Afghanistan Heritage & Extractive Industries Development Initiative’, a UNESCO programme financed by the World Bank through the Afghan Ministries of Mines & Petroleum and of Finance, aimed specifically at ensuring the protection of cultural heritage sites within mining areas in the country.

 The Symposium is specifically conceived to discuss the integration between the protection of cultural heritage and the modernization processes. While the international debate has moved forward in embodying 'Culture' into a new generation of sustainable development goals and targets, as demonstrated well by the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, there are still a number of countries where rapid and inadequate development initiatives constitute possible threats for the preservation of cultural assets.

 The Symposium will serve as a platform to share experiences from a number of countries and provide an opportunity to discuss challenges encountered, mitigation strategies adopted and results achieved. The initiative will gather over 50 experts, representatives of governments, internationally renowned experts, research institutes and non-governmental institutions from both developed and post-conflict/developing countries, in order to facilitate a broad and inclusive discussion on how cultural heritage can actually be embodied in the modernization processes to achieve the overall goal of sustainable development.

 Through a reflection on key themes, such as how to mitigate possible threats to cultural heritage induced by unintegrated planning approaches, suitable governance systems at both local and national levels, the contribution of culture to equity and inclusion of local communities, job creation and sustainable tourism, the Symposium will contribute to encourage culture-based strategies for regeneration programmes, especially addressed to all those countries where rampant modernization processes could seriously affect the chance of accomplishing sustainable development goals.

 The Symposium will take place in Palazzo Barberini, in plenary sessions and thematic panels, starting on the morning of May 25 and closing on the afternoon of May 27.
The Symposium will be opened by representatives of the Government of Italy, of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, of the World Bank Group and of UNESCO. This introduction will be followed by a Key Note session that will serve to set the stage for the Symposium and aims to highlight the key role that ‘culture’ can play in ensuring sustainable development, in all its dimensions.

 Each plenary session and thematic panel will have a closing time dedicated to answers and questions, in order to establish an interactive section where the debate may improve the final outcomes. A leading expert will moderate each debate and will be part of the round-table discussion, scheduled for Friday morning, which will lead to the establishment of the Symposium outcomes and consequent adoption.

 Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English, French and Italian.

 More information can be found here: