Riyadh International Creative Economy Forum

04 November 2021
09:00 - 17:00 hrs.

The cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are more important than ever before. They have been acknowledged by the UN as key drivers of inclusive and sustainable economic development and have become vital contributors as we rebuild socially and economically in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saudi Arabia has recognized the value of these industries by emphasizing their fundamental role in the achievement of its 2030 Vision goals and by bringing global attention to CCIs through its leadership of the 2020 G20.

The Ministry of Culture will extend Saudi Arabia’s contributions by partnering with the UN Saudi Arabia Office and a local partner to organize and host a forum in recognition of 2021 as an International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.

This forum will be held virtually on November 4, 2021, to mark the first anniversary of the Riyadh Culture Minister’s meeting organized by Saudi Arabia on the margins of its G20 Presidency, the first of its kind.

Speakers will include Saudi and international creative economy leaders and experts and cultural practitioners, in addition to a speaker from UNCTAD, the UN body leading the implementation of the International Year of Creative Economy.


  1. Emphasize Saudi Arabia’s pioneering role in supporting CCIs on a global scale through its formalization of the culture Sherpa track in the 2020 G20 and its leadership position as Co-Chair and Troika member in the 2021 G20.
  1. Highlight the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on creative industries and examine ways in which they can be assisted in and contribute to economic recovery.
  1. Underscore the necessity of the creative economy to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by structuring discussions of the relationship between creative pursuits and sustainable development.

Issues for discussion:

The forum will feature two thematic discussions of the social and economic roles of creative industries. The first will emphasize lessons learned from the creative sector’s experiences with the pandemic, and the second will examine the relationship between creative industries and sustainable development more broadly.

Thematic Session 1: Supporting the Creative Economy in the Post-COVID World

This session will emphasize Saudi Arabia’s efforts to preserve historic culture, support creative industries, and embrace their vital contributions as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Lessons learned and good practices will be identified. This session will address how the global creative sector underwent significant changes in response to the social restrictions imposed by the pandemic but flourished nonetheless, finding new ways to engage audiences and promote artistic and societal resilience.

Already an innovative economic driver, the creative sector can be further supported in the recovery period through the development of digital policies, educational initiatives, and financing programs that establish creative communities in rural as well as urban areas and encourage international tourism through the integration of creative industries into the traditional manufacturing sector.

Thematic Session 2: Creative Economy, Sustainable Development, and Vision 2030

This session will explore the ways in which CCIs can be leveraged to unleash the full potential of the Kingdom’s citizens and enable Saudi Arabia to achieve its Vision 2030 goals.

The Kingdom’s cultural sector can drive sustainable development by embracing a circular economy model and creating inclusive job opportunities, both of which will help achieve the goal of creating a thriving economy through growth, diversification, and increased employment.

Moreover, cultural and creative industries can support national ambitions and contribute to the development of vibrant societies by creating awareness of challenges such as climate change, thereby enabling social responsibility. They can promote inclusive social development and dialogue between people, thus contributing to a healthy and fulfilling life.

Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia

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Marisa Henderson, Chief, Creative Economy Programme