The importance of culture for sustainability

The integrated vision proposed by the UN 2030 Agenda, in addition to recent events redefining the global horizons of recent years such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, calls on all of us to take on a new responsibility, to manage a complex and profound reality. in relation to the past, where it is necessary to be able to see and understand the close connections between the economic, social, environmental, cultural and human spheres and to develop a systemic vision of reality. In this context, Vector 2 of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (Snsvs) has dedicated to “Culture for Sustainability the fundamental goal of promoting culture as an enabling factor for human and sustainable development through two areas of action that are strictly linked: education and sustainable development. Education, information and communication In this dimension, knowledge must be seen as a common good, the securing of which requires a collective responsibility, in order to arrive at new comprehensible and common representations of issues relevant to a new development paradigm.

For the scope Education and training the challenge is to innovate and qualify the education system and models and to promote the process of transforming knowledge into skills, as well as the development of a sustainable lifestyle and the dissemination of a culture based on the values ​​of peace, equality, social inclusion, non-violence and global citizenship. It is necessary to recompose pedagogical fragmentation and promote training for sustainable development throughout life (lifelong learning) and in all its areas (lifelong learning), through widespread learning as a social practice and an active process and, I add, measurable. This can be achieved through a rethinking of the places and methods dedicated to formal learning (school and university), including non-formal (in any organism pursuing educational and training purposes) and informal (in everyday situations) learning methods. the connection with work, family and leisure), with which we interact on a daily basis. And here we find the first close connection with the areas of information and communication.

In this sense, education and information must find new forms of collaboration and alliance, in order to offer an integrated vision that extends beyond the traditional didactic and journalistic silos. In this sense, the National Action Plan for Sustainable Policy Coherence for Development (Pan PCDs) contributes to the implementation of the transformative vision proposed by Vector 2 through two main courses of action: against public administration and against civil society and non-state actors. The first case involves the creation of training programs and modules, created and delivered through collaboration between different institutional disciplines, aimed at public servants in the public administration at all levels. In the second case, it promotes the creation of environments for the exchange and sharing of sustainability expertise, promotes transparency and involvement in decision-making processes and contributes to the training of teachers in sustainability issues and cross-cutting methodological approaches, especially through the Education Pact tool, with education communities and integrated training systems. It also supports the creation of learning environments that favor the meeting of professionals working in public, private and civil society (eg ongoing refresher courses for professional associations) to promote the development of innovative partnerships (vector specific action area 3 of Snsvs)).

The direction to be pursued is to invest in overcoming the transmission model and in adopting open models for active and experiential teaching, in situations of continuous learning, training in critical and systemic thinking, creativity, transdisciplinarity and the ability to act for change.

In other words, it is no longer just a matter of imparting ideas and knowledge, but of making sure that they are essential in relation to the training of individuals who transform themselves into the competencies (skills, attitudes and values), necessary to carry out the role of agents of change. It is therefore essential that the training and information courses offer in-depth knowledge, but also tools that promote a change in behavior, useful for stimulating innovative solutions to redesign processes and products in a sustainable way.

In fact, continuous learning represents a fundamental enabling factor also in entrepreneurial contexts and in the world of work in general, to be able to respond effectively to a constantly changing market, as well as to be able to carry out active and responsible citizenship, participation in community of ideas, solutions and a broad and systemic vision of the goals to be achieved for sustainable development, also to make people understand the benefits of sustainable development when they are fully integrated into economic activities.

All this can not happen without a process of involving the citizens, of the various actors in civil society and of ever wider sections of public opinion. Here we find the centrality of the area information and communication. It is absolutely essential to promote the creation of a common and common language, with the aim of building and experimenting with new narrative paths at Snsvs, developing effective communication to spread a vision of the future based on sustainability. These are necessary prerequisites for spreading awareness of sustainability issues and the tools for their implementation, as well as for helping to strengthen relationships and practice spaces for collaboration both between institutions, for consolidation and full functionality of control for sustainability, both with civil society and non-state actors, to promote their active involvement in decision-making processes and in the implementation and evaluation of policies.

In this sense, vector 2 “culture of sustainability” has a characteristic, like the other vectors, of strong transversality in order to integrate and support the achievement of all the objectives of the strategy. In particular, creating a culture of sustainability is equivalent to opportunities from offer homogeneous interpretive frameworks and narratives that support the building of integrated visions and policies; emphasize the need for a shared, open and accessible knowledge base, a tool for transparency in the decision-making process, for monitoring the implementation process of Snsvs and a prerequisite for the active participation of the actors involved; develop cross-cutting skills and widespread, permanent, organizational and social learning; dissemination of territorialized and personalized processes, very inclusive, to overcome territorial differences and social and personal fragility; sensitize local communities to “change” projects involving a transparent approach by the institutions, also to prevent often sterile opposition phenomena (eg Nimby syndrome (Not in my back yard); in this sense also encourage innovation processes for territorial governance models there); also puts education, training, awareness, communication and knowledge at the center of local authorities to prevent the emergence of phenomena such as Nimto (Not during my tenure).

In summary, the affirmation of sustainable development and its integration into public and private sector policies, strategies, the priorities and behaviors of civil society, citizens and citizens, necessarily goes through a cultural change that must involve everyone. We guarantee the well-being and growth of future and young generations, who from this year – and we are very proud of it as Italians – are present in the basic principles of our Constitution.

In the section “in-depth analysis”, we offer readers expert analyzes on specific topics, food for thought, testimonies, stories of new initiatives in relation to the sustainable development goals. The articles reflect the views of the authors and are not binding on the Alliance. To submit articles, write to The texts, between 4,000 and 10,000 characters or more graphics and tables (with exceptions agreed in advance), must be unpublished.

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