The president of the Commonwealth Group on Culture and Development, Baroness Lola Young, believes that governments, development organizations, and private donors must do more to acknowledge the role that culture plays in a wide variety of development processes. So reported the Commonwealth Foundation in a document describing the first meeting of the new Commonwealth Group on Culture and Development, held in London on June 25 and 26. The goal of the session was to show member governments the significant contribution that culture could make to sustainable human development, and to prepare a declaration intended for Commonwealth heads of state and government.
Members appointed to the group have a range of backgrounds and expertise. They include Anna Feuchtwang, current chair of British NGOs for Overseas Development (BOND); Gregory Ch'oc, an environmental activist campaigning for indigenous rights in Belize; Letila Mitchell, Secretary General of the Pacific Arts Alliance; and Éric Théroux, Director General of Multilateral Affairs and International Commitments at the Ministry of International Relations of the Government of Québec. The group is being supported and convened by the Commonwealth’s culture agency, the Commonwealth Foundation.
The Commonwealth Foundation stated that “The group’s starting point is the Commonwealth Foundation’s new research report, Putting Culture First. The declaration will build upon the evidence base explored in the report and discuss issues surrounding the creative economy, cultural rights, and culture-based methods for development. The resulting declaration, which will be issued at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in November, is expected to help governments and donors incorporate an understanding of culture’s various connections to development and recognize its importance when discussing future development policies.”