Culture facilitates social inclusion, freedom of expression, identity-building and civil empowerment, while strengthening economic growth and helping to foster political participation and ownership. The European Union provides support to cultural diversity in developing countries. It promotes culture as making an essential contribution to human rights, key elements of good governance and inclusive and sustainable growth.
Culture is an important sector of social and human development. It contributes to identity-building and self-esteem, fosters economic growth and social cohesion, and helps to promote political participation and ownership. It is shaped by specific values, traditions and behavioural patterns that need to be considered in all sectors of development when working with partner countries.
Culture has an important place in the EU’s development cooperation. The EU seeks to:
- take local and regional cultural specificities into account when designing and implementing development cooperation programmes and projects (with particular attention given to targeting cultural aspects under specific sector programmes to accompany partners for a smooth evolution wherever certain traditions and behaviours are damaging and jeopardise attempts to reduce inequalities and poverty);
- encourage its partners to include culture in their own poverty reduction strategies and national development plans;
- promote the conservation, dissemination and promotion of cultural diversity at local and national level;
- stimulate the access of local people to their own culture and to income-generating activities based on the dissemination of culture and traditional heritage;
- promote intercultural dialogue at all levels as well as between developing countries;
- support the establishment of networks for exchanges of expertise and good practice, as well as training and professionalisation of the sector.
A number of programmes specifically support culture in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The largest programme is the ACPCulture+ which contributes to the fight against poverty by supporting sustainable cultural industries in ACP countries. The programme helps these industries to play a role in the social and economic development of the country and to preserve cultural diversity.