On September 20, Québec's minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women, Christine St-Pierre, launched a society-wide effort to develop Québec's Agenda 21 for culture by summer 2011.
Québec's plan, entitled Agenda 21C - Culture aujourd'hui demain is part of an international movement. To date, two Agendas 21 for culture have been launched worldwide. The first was adopted in 2004 by the Association of United Cities and Local Governments at the Universal Forum of Cultures in Barcelona. The second was ratified in 2007 by the 27 member states of the European Union.
In developing an Agenda 21 for culture, Québec is acting on the commitment it made in ratifying the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which specifies that parties must promote the integration of culture into sustainable development.
"After being the first government in the world to support the Convention on Cultural Diversity," said Minister St-Pierre, "we will now become one of the first to adopt an Agenda 21 for culture, thereby raising the profile of Québec culture."
The main goal of the Agenda 21 for culture process is to establish culture as a fundamental dimension of the sustainable development of Québec society. To this end, a number of groups from all walks of life will be participating to define the broad outlines of this Agenda 21 for culture.
This framework will include both principles and goals so that Québec can make culture an essential dimension of its development strategies, either as a complement to or in symbiosis with social, economic, and environmental elements.
To assist the minister, a liaison committee has been struck, made up of members deeply involved in the civic, institutional, cultural, and municipal communities as well as research, youth development, business, and economic fields.
The liaison committee's mandate will be to lead a variety of activities in their respective communities that promote participation and involvement in the public process. The ultimate goal is to lay the groundwork for an integrated, broad-based vision through an approach that builds bridges between culture and the economy, culture and the environment, and culture and society.
Concrete proposals will arise through discussion and reflection. These proposals will form the basis for discussions at a National Forum in the spring of 2011, after which a declaration of principles will be developed that will lead to Québec's eventual Agenda 21 for culture.
An informational and interactive platform has been set up online for this purpose at www.agenda21c.gouv.qc.ca (French only). It is an online hub (via Twitter) for learning about Agenda 21C - Culture aujourd'hui demain and the various activities organized by visionaries, communicators, and partners. More than this it will also enrich our reflection through the stimulating discussions a blueprint for society like this is sure to elicit.
Development of the Agenda 21 for culture is the centerpiece of Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine's Sustainable Development Action Plan (2009–2013). "This is an instrument that will fulfill a mission that is crucial in helping us work together to establish culture as an essential dimension in the development of Québec society," added Minister St-Pierre. "It opens a new chapter in Québec's cultural policy."
The full press release is available on the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec website.