As Isis — the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — takes almost full control of the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra with its 2,000-year-old towering Roman-era colonnades, the humankind celebrates the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
The ruins at Palmyra, a Unesco world heritage site just to the south-west of the town aka the “Bride of the Desert”, are one of the region’s most renowned historic sites and there are fears the extremists will destroy them as they have done after taking major archaeological sites in Iraq.
As we clarify in our recent Steppes in Sync animated presentation, local communities worldwide — apart from those in the immediate warzones, sadly — are soon to gain a bigger say in the creative economy, which will certainly boost well-being of their members, cultural diversity and overall economic development. Sure thing, there are still such aspects for further optimization as only a handful of connected creatives — who wouldn’t share their network benefits with the rest of us for fear of being disrupted — or the statistical data that target extra funding rather than solve problems. Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire, explains:
In 2013, out of a total aid budget of $134.8bn, a mere $280m went in support of statistics. Establishing a statistical office is less eye-catching than building a hospital or school but data-driven policy will ensure that more hospital and schools are delivered more effectively and efficiently.
Even with ISIS on the doorsteps of the ancient Palmyra, it’s increasingly up to us to imagine those diverse new futures and generate creative solutions. Mo Ibrahim again:
For 38 out of 54 African countries, data on poverty and inequality are either out-dated or non-existent. Only 3 % of African citizens live in countries where governmental budgets and expenditures are made open.
- CREATIVE ECONOMY REPORT 2013 – WIDENING LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PATHWAYS by United Nations/UNDP/UNESCO
- From Creative Economy to Creative Society, a brief authored by Susan Seifert and Mark Stern, University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project
- Understanding Creative Industries Cultural Statistics for Public Policy Making by UNESCO/Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity.