From little things big things grow

The international association of local governments (UCLG) has just released a draft proposal for the adoption of culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development by its members.

The UCLG’s Executive is now ‘arguing that not only is cultural diversity presently a crucial element in globalization, but that development cannot solely be based on economic growth, social inclusion and environmental balance’.

The spectacularly concise document now in circulation (and its support from the Executive) is the result a decade’s work by Jordi Pascual, the support officer of the UCLG’s Committee for Culture and long-term proponent of the Agenda 21 for Culture.

In 2001, Jordi was one of the few that recognised that in my small book, The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability: culture’s essential role in public planning, was the germ of an idea that might actually be able to built into a practical way for local government to address contemporary issues. He beavered away for 10 years, gradually refining and promoting the idea of the fourth pillar until now it has metamorphosed from being the concept of an obscure down-under dilettante into a full-on mainstream policy option.

It’s been a fascinating journey and while I can claim some small credit for having laid the groundwork, the ‘instrumentalisation’ is pure Jordi. Good on you mate.

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