International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, 2021

In 2019 at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, 2021 was declared the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. Indonesia was the main sponsor of the proposal, which was presented by a global grouping of countries, including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines and Thailand.

The proposal recognised the need to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, foster innovation and provide opportunities, benefits and empowerment for all and respect for all human rights. 

It also identified the ongoing need to support developing countries and countries with economies in transition in diversifying production and exports, including in new sustainable growth areas, including creative industries.

It encourages all to observe the year in accordance with national priorities to raise awareness, promote cooperation and networking, encourage sharing best practices and experiences, enhance human resource capacity, promote an enabling environment at all levels as well as tackle the challenges of the creative economy. 


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Programme of activities to implement the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021


[Last updated 01/07/2021]






Beginning of January

Kick-off International Year of Creative Economy



19 January

Book Launch: Creativity, Culture and Capital: Impact investing in the global creative economy 


Fundación Compromiso, Nesta, and Upstart Co-Lab in partnership with UNCTAD

25 January

Welcoming the International Year of Creative Economy


UNCTAD in partnership with the Permanent Missions of the Republic of Indonesia and of the Sultanate of Oman.

1 February

UNESCO launch of the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development during the 14th Intergovernmental Committee of the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions 



18 February

Special Reform Legislation Discussion Webinar: Philippines Creative Industries Bill


American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines in collaboration with UNCTAD

8-10 March 2021

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi


United Arab Emirates (UAE) in partnership with UNCTAD, the Economist, Google, the UK Royal Academy of Arts, the Guggenheim Museum, UNESCO, the British Council, and Louvre Abu Dhabi

15-21 March

Sustainable Innovation Forum


UNCTAD and the Centre for Sustainable Design, University of Creative Arts, Surrey (UK)

31st March

Conversation with Women in Creative Economy


Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), UNCTAD,

29 April

How the Digital Economy Advances Creative Industries


International Center of Creativity and Sustainable Development

20 May

Contribution to the celebration UN World Bee Day.

Creativity for Sustainability by Artist Tomás Gabzdi Libertiny

World Bee Day project of the Republic of Slovenia 


Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia in cooperation with UNCTAD

21 May

PGA High-level Event on Culture and Sustainable Development - Building back better: towards a more resilient and impactful culture sector, throughout COVID-19 and the Decade of Action


UN President of the General Assembly Office in cooperation with UNESCO and UNCTAD

26 May

Bergen International Summit 2021: The Power of Art and Culture in Transformation


City of Bergen, Norway in collaboration with UNCTAD

26 May

Insta live with Young People: Celebrating the year of Creative Economy and What it means to young people


Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the UN, WTO and other international organizations and UNCTAD

26-28 May

Africa Dialogue Series OSAA - Cultural identity and ownership: reshaping mindsets



26 May

Connecting CREATIVES to CAPITAL in the UN Year of Creative Economy



17 June

Webinar on Building back better with the creative economy.


Délégation Générale Wallonie-Bruxelles à Genève in partnership with UNCTAD and UNESCO

2-5 June

Creative Business Forum - creative industries: statistics, exports, and integration into the global economy

Saint Petersburg/


SPIEF, Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation

7-9 June

YMCA Youth led solutions: The Future of Work Summit


YMCA, UN, The Aspen Institute, Global Shapers Community; University of San Francisco

17- June

Fashion Futures Live: Moving Towards Sustainability, Diversity and Innovation



Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Commission in collaboration with UNCTAD

22 June

The Commonwealth Business Forum Rwanda


Government of Rwanda and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC).

9-11 July

Creative Economy for Sustainable Development: Let’s Connect!  - on the occasion of United Nations HLPF on SDGs


Republic of Indonesia and UN

July - August

Training Workshops, Webinar on Creative Industries and small and medium enterprises.


Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración (ALADI) / Latin American Integration Association in collaboration with UNCTAD and other International Organizations

26-29 August

Russia Creativity Week 2021


Russian Federation

7 September

Sustainable Recovery through Sustainable Fashion


United Nations Environment Group, United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion.

9-11 September

ULCG Culture Summit: Culture Shaping the Future


United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Metropolitan Municipality of Izmir, Turkey

12 -15 September

Future Unlocked! Cultural and Creative Sectors as Agents of Change


Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia in collaboration with UNCTAD

2 to 8 October 2021

UNCTAD 15 Creative Industries and Digitalization Forum 


UNCTAD and Barbados as host Country of U15

2 December 2021

World Conference on Creative Economy

Dubai / Online

United Arab Emirates in cooperation with Indonesia, UNCTAD and the Friends of Creative Economy.


2020 year of the creative economy

List your creative economy event

Are you hosting an event, discussion, debate, conference or any other celebratory happening to mark the UN's 2021 International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development?

Let us know about it and we will add it to our database of events happening throughout the year. Your event will also be logged in our report to the United Nations General Assembly.


Register your event


Voices for Culture campaign

Dancers PGA World Culture Day



On 21 May, the Office of the President of the General Assembly (PGA) in collaboration with UNESCO and UNCTAD will host a High-Level Event on Culture and Sustainable Development. The event marks World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

This year in particular, as creative industries cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the voices and experiences of those impacted, are more important than ever. 

That is why, we are calling YOU, cultural practitioners, and artists from all around the world to get involved! We want to hear YOUR voice. 

We’re seeking partners and platforms that will support the delivery of the messages, globally and at the UN High-Level event. 

We’re requesting that YOU record a short video (15-30 seconds) using the hashtag #Voices4Culture and give a single reason for why YOU matter to the cultural sector?

When: Send us or post your video by 17 May 2021 and follow the LIVE event on 21 May 2021 via

Find out more below: 


This high-level event is yours! If:

YOU are an artist or member of the creative community

YOU have a network of creatives and artists

YOU have a platform for arts and culture that can reach out to millions

YOU want to just raise awareness on how COVID-19 has impacted the culture sector

YOU want to show solidarity with artists and cultural practitioners

Then YOU should join our “Voices 4 Culture” campaign and have your voice heard. 


We need to humanise the cultural sector and build a groundswell of support for the people who will play a key role in communicating, articulating and facilitating the road to recovery from COVID-19. 

Why get involved: This is an opportunity to showcase the faces and voices of the global cultural sector, support diversity, and underscore the value of arts and culture - and the people that produce in these sectors - as a key part of the human experience. 


Submit your short videos (15-30 sec) to  and simply share your video on Twitter or social media, using the hashtags #Voices4Culture and #Culture4Development, telling us why YOU matter?


Hi, my name is __________ 

I am a / I work in ____________

I matter to the cultural sector because ___________ OR

My work matters because _________ contributes to the creative economy/helps artists/in my country, etc, etc. 

I stand with the global creative community.


  • 15-30 second Horizontal shot (16:9)
  • Make sure there is no background noise. Good sound is key!
  • Use the hashtag: #Culture4Development and #Voices4Culture when posting online.
  • Send us or post your video by 17 May and follow the LIVE event on 21 May via


#Voices4Culture video