Video Message by Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the General Assembly at the launch of UNESCO's Roadmap for the 'International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development'
Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for inviting me to address you today. It is a
Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for inviting me to address you today. It is a pleasure to take part in launching UNESCO's Roadmap for the 'International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development'. While often underestimated, the creative economy contributes to 3% of global GDP and employs 30 million people, including more young people, aged 15-29, than any other sector. For close to 20 years, its exports have often outpaced other industries. Yet as we know, the cultural and creative industries are experiencing an unprecedented collapse, with widescale closures of cultural spaces and venues, and the unemployment or underemployment of millions. Despite these challenges, our joint efforts throughout the Year of Creative Economy offer hope of a reprieve for these sectors and their workers, as well as an opportunity to address these sectors' vulnerabilities. For my part, I will host a General Assembly High-level event on culture and sustainable development on May 2021 – around the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This event, to be held under the theme of "Building back better: towards a more resilient and impactful culture sector, throughout COVID-19 and the Decade of Action", will allow Member States and stakeholders to share best practices and lessons learned on cultural and creative industries throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and offer insight on how best to leverage them for relief and recovery plans. It is my hope that this event will also showcase the transformational potential of these sectors as underutilized accelerators for implementing the SDGs. Capitalizing on the creative economy's potential can help diversify countries' production and exports while supporting sustainable development. Addressing the precarious status of artists, cultural professionals and organisations and taking into account the impact, opportunities and challenges of the digital environment, will be central to these efforts. Ladies and gentlemen, the current global crisis has brought to light the critical contribution of culture to collective well-being. In this spirit, I call on Member States and the UN system to engage artists and cultural professionals, not only as service providers, but as change makers and contributors. We need to build more strategic partnerships and capitalize on the knowledge and skills of this dynamic and diverse group. I thank UNESCO for its commitment and support for the upcoming High-Level event. Working together we can support culture's transformational potential. I look forward to the participation of culture ministers and stakeholders, from all regions of the world, in helping to make this a reality. And I invite you all to follow the proceedings live on UN Web TV – and to take part in ensuring this year succeeds in its ambitious goals. Thank you.