The UNESCO Action Plan on Cultural Policies for Development

The Power of Culture – The Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development, held in Stockholm, March – April 1998, was designed by UNESCO to transform the ideas from the report Our Creative Diversity into policy and practice. This report was presented in 1995 by the World Commission on Culture and Development, established by the United Nations and UNESCO and led by Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.

The conference, hosted by the Government of Sweden, was attended by ministers and officials from nearly 140 of UNESCO's 186 Member States (in 2004, 190 Member States and 6 Associate Members), and, in addition, by invited persons active in cultural fields all over the world – in total about 2,200 participants. An Action Plan was adopted that shall serve as an inspiration for the Member States’ international and national cultural policy and be a tool for UNESCO’s continued cultural work.


The Action Plan is highly relevant to children and young people, as it states in its preamble, among other things, that

Cultural policies should promote creativity in all its forms, facilitating access to cultural practices and experiences for all citizens regardless of nationality, race, sex, age, physical or mental disability, enrich the sense of cultural identity and belonging of every individual and community and sustain them in their search for a dignified and safe future.

Below, we have cited those policy objectives from the Action Plan recommended to Member States which explicitly mention children and young people, or media violence:

2.9. Review all cultural policies, programmes and institutions in order to ensure in particular respect for the rights of the child, as well as those of vulnerable groups with special educational and cultural needs; take into account the needs and aspirations of the young – whose new cultural practices in particular should be supported – as well as the elderly who are all too often left out of cultural life.

4.2. Consider providing public radio and television and promote space for community, linguistic and minority services, particularly at the local level and with a view to promoting non-violence.

4.4. Take measures to promote the education and training of children in the use of new media technologies and to combat violence and intolerance, by contributing in particular to the activities of centres or institutions specializing in exchanges of information on children and violence on the screen.

4.6. Promote in addition education conducive to the mastery and creative use of new information technologies among the younger generations as users and producers of messages and content, and give priority to education in civic values and the training of teachers in new technologies.

2 April, 1998


The full text of the Action Plan on Cultural Policies for Development is published in Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development. Final Report. Stockholm, Sweden, 30 March – 2 April 1998. UNESCO, Paris, 1998.