Indonesia stages First World Culture forum in Bali

Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono officially inaugurated the World Culture Forum (WFC), which is being organized and hosted by the country in Bali for the first time, on Monday.

In his speech President Yudhoyono said, "The WFC is needed to complete various other forums that have been in existence in the world, such as the World Economic Forum in Davos and the World Social Forum in Brazil. So far we have not had a culture forum."

He further stated that the WCF was aimed at establishing a common framework for discussion at the local, as well as international levels.

The President said the forum would also contribute to achieving development goals.

"The forum will discuss thoroughly how culture can help promote sustainable development," he said.

The first WCF, which started on Nov. 24 and will conclude on Nov. 27, was first initiated in 2005, but it is only this year that it could it be realized, Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh said.

Nuh added that a culture forum was needed because without culture there would be no future.

Meanwhile, President Yudhoyono said that culture affected all aspects of life including a countrys development process.

"Culture is an important component in human development, as well as in the post-2015 development agenda," he said.

He also noted that culture was also key to the success of sustainable development.

"At academic levels, I have seen a lot of people studying culture and economic development. To us this forum will give an opportunity to discuss how culture can promote sustainable development," he said.

The WFC is being attended by representatives from 40 countries, who will participate in discussions, seminars and dialogue among different cultures. It is hoped that the WFC will help produce a new policy direction that makes cultures a part of sustainable development and helps formulate an ethics framework to ensure the involvement of communities and stake holders in the development.

The event is expected to produce a draft framework that will guarantee sustainable cultural development and to give inputs for the discussion of the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals programs.

Among the key speakers on the first day of the event were the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director General Irina Bokova, who delivered a speech through a teleconference, Noble Prize laureate for Economics Amartya Sen, Time Magazine Editor Fareed Zakaria and Education Minister Muhammad Nuh.

Reporting by Indriani, Panca Hari Probowo