February 2022

With the United Nations’ International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development having now ended, it is a good time to ask “what next?” for the cultural and creative industries.

A Global Agenda for the Cultural and Creative Industries: 11 Key Actions, produced in response to an invitation made by the UN General Assembly to the international community, sets out key recommendations for policymakers and governments worldwide to build back from the impacts of Covid-19.

The Agenda was created by the UK’s Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre’s (PEC) International Advisory Council (IAC), which is convened by the British Council. Representing the culmination of two-years of coordinated discussions across more than 18 countries, it shares international cultural and creative industries’ policy intelligence and research opportunities, and provides an international perspective on the PEC’s activities. Written by a network of leading policy and creative economy practitioners from across the world, this is the first time that an international group representing the global cultural and creative industries has come together with these goals in mind. 

Formally launched at The World Conference on Creative Economy (WCCE) in Dubai in December 2021, the aim for the 11 key points is to contribute to the agenda for the 2022 meeting of the WCCE. This will be held in Indonesia in October under the auspices of the national government, which, as well as having been the driving force behind the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, also holds the presidency this year of the G20 group of countries. Derived from a two-year long discourse on the needs of the global Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs), the PEC International Council’s eleven actions call for a rethinking of many established areas of policy, particularly at the international level.

Corresponding to multiple SDGs, echoing some of the findings of the British Council's Missing Pillar report on culture and the SDGs, the points include the protection of cultural heritage, the collection of data about self-employed people and the informal economy, and the focus of social impact finance initiatives. The Agenda asks policymakers to prioritise the arts along with science and technology in education and skilling, and there is a calling for greater investment in the digital economy to support and sustain the growth of robust cultural and creative industries. By mapping the key points on to the SDGs, the Agenda outlines the essential and necessary change needed to build the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) to meet their potential on local and global levels.

As the world begins to recover from the impact of the pandemic and its economic downturn, the IAC believes that there is opportunity to implement policies that would minimise the fragility of CCIs, and enhance their potential as key elements of a global economy that is dynamic, innovative, accessible, equitable, and environmentally sustainable.

Through this Agenda, the IAC calls on policymakers worldwide to build on the momentum that has resulted from the UN Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, to be bold in action to strengthen the CCIs, and to contribute to positive change for arts communities, practitioners and audiences worldwide. 

The IAC believes that if the urgent reconfiguration the world needs is to be achieved, these ideas belong in the mainstream of public policy at local, national and international level. We at the British Council hope this document is shared widely, and is a catalyst for future dialogue and positive reassessment in policymaking for the global cultural and creative industries. We believe it can contribute to post-covid recovery and support creative communities across the globe. 

The Global Agenda was launched on December 7th 2021 at the World Conference on Creative Economy in Dubai and is available in multiple languages.

Rosemary Parkhill, Programme Manager Arts and Society