Culture is a valuable tool for advancing on the road to integration, taking advantage of the cultural wealth, creativity and common heritage of the SICA countries. Culture can make a decisive contribution to strengthening cohesion, dialogue and social understanding among the societies of the SICA region, which is especially relevant in view of the major common challenges currently facing these countries in the health, economic and environmental spheres. This was reiterated by the Council of Ministers of Culture of the CECC-SICA through the adoption of the Culture Strategy as a lever for SICA Regional Integration on November 18.
In addition, the integration of culture within educational systems is important because it helps to foster the appreciation of cultural diversity as a positive force, promoting intercultural dialogue as an effective tool against violence, prejudice, discrimination and all forms of social exclusion. The Strategy to Articulate the Functional Relationship between Culture and Education in the SICA Region, which was adopted by the Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education and Culture on November 19, seeks to enhance education for sustainable development, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity.
Both Strategies incorporate UNESCO's technical guidelines, as well as the Culture 2030 Thematic Indicators: a modern framework for measuring progress in the implementation of culture to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. UNESCO maintains that culture is a cross-cutting factor in the Agenda 2030, and it is key to boost the recovery of the cultural and educational sectors of the countries in the Region after the serious effects left by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of various meteorological phenomena that have affected the region in recent months, all of which constitute a serious threat to the progress that had already been made for years in terms of sustainable development.
The development of these two Strategies is the result of a fruitful cooperation between UNESCO and the CECC-SICA, which has been strengthened in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, through a series of joint initiatives aiming at formulating joint responses to the common challenges faced by the eight SICA member countries. UNESCO stresses that international cooperation is one of the inescapable keys to facing challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the fight against inequality, poverty and climate change.