Analyze the role of culture in the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and assess its potential to drive transformative change in sustainable development practices.


Culture was recognised as a goal for the first time under India’s G20 presidency, for achieving sustainable development goals.


  • Introduce your answer with how culture, as an essential aspect of human development and its pivotal role in achieving SDGs.
  • In the main body, highlight the role of Culture in attaining SDGs like fostering inclusive development, sustainable practices, heritage preservation, education, and community empowerment, etc. Next discuss its potential in driving transformative change in sustainable practices like inspiring innovation, empowering marginalized communities, integrates traditional knowledge, and promotes sustainable lifestyles.
  • Conclude your answer by recognizing culture’s multifaceted role and emphasizing its fundamental contribution to fostering inclusive and sustainable development in the pursuit of SDGs.


Culture is an essential component of human development, representing a source of identity, innovation and creativity for all, it provides sustainable solutions to local and global challenges. Its influence spans across sectors, embodying the essence of holistic development which is essential for achieving sustainable development goals. India has emphasized the role culture in attaining SDGs in its G20 presidency.

Role of Culture in Attaining SDGs:

  • Inclusive Development: Culture fosters inclusive development by embracing diversity and promoting social cohesion.
    • Cultural practices like community gatherings and festivals promote social integration, contributing to the achievement of SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities).
  • Sustainable Practices: Traditional wisdom embedded in culture offers sustainable solutions.
    • India’s emphasis on frugality and resourcefulness, such as recycling and reusing materials, aligns with SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).
  • Preservation of Heritage: Cultural heritage conservation contributes to sustainable tourism and economic growth.
    • The restoration of historical sites like the Taj Mahal preserves cultural identity and boosts tourism revenue, supporting SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).
  • Education and Knowledge Sharing: Cultural practices facilitate informal education and knowledge transfer across generations.
    • Indigenous knowledge about sustainable agriculture supports SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 2 (Zero Hunger).
  • Community Empowerment: Cultural initiatives empower marginalized communities, fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.
    • Programs promoting traditional crafts empower artisans economically, aligning with SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).
  • Social Cohesion and Conflict Resolution: reduces social conflicts and promote peace thus supporting SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions).

Potential in Driving Transformative Change in Sustainable Practices:

  • Global Action and Dialogue: Recognizing culture as a standalone goal galvanizes international collaboration and fosters intercultural dialogue thus exchange of sustainable practices.
  • Creativity and Innovation: Platforms that celebrate cultural diversity can inspire novel approaches to sustainability challenges.
  • Empowerment of Marginalized Communities: Through elevation culture by recognizing and valuing their cultural heritage. This empowerment fosters resilience and enhances community-driven sustainable development initiatives.
  • Integration of Traditional Knowledge: Ensures holistic and context-specific approaches to sustainability and enhances the effectiveness and sustainability of development interventions.
    • The seed swap festival in Turkey promotes traditional agriculture.
  • Promotion of Sustainable Lifestyles: Cultural values promoting simplicity, mindfulness, and respect for nature can catalyze shifts towards sustainable lifestyles.
    • Initiatives like India’s LiFE campaign encourage individuals to adopt eco-conscious behaviours, contributing to sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Culture, once marginalized in development discourse, emerges as a cornerstone of sustainable development under India’s G20 presidency. By weaving cultural considerations into the core fabric of development, we unlock its transformative potential, ensuring a more equitable, just, and sustainable world for generations to come.

‘+1’ value addition:

  • The United Nations General Assembly Declaration, which enshrines the 2030 Agenda, mentions the importance of culture but fails to clearly define its contribution, overlooking its vital role in sustainable development.
  • Establishing culture as a standalone goal in the post-2030 Agenda would address the current gap and ensure a holistic approach to sustainable development.
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