"In a landmark resolution of 2011, for example, United Nations member states acknowledged that culture was an essential component of human development. Culture is also an important factor in social inclusion and poverty eradication," the head of state said before some 800 participants from 45 countries, including 17 ministers, who are attending the Forum.
Culture can become an important source of income, create employment and foster entrepreneurship. According to a UN report, cultural and creative industries represented one of the most rapidly expanding sectors in the global economy.
He cited examples of Asias growth rate touching 9.7 percent; Africas reaching 13.9 percent; the Middle Easts 17.6 percent growth rate; South Americas 11.9 percent; Oceanias 6.9 percent; and North and Central Americas 4.3 percent rate of growth.
Yudhoyono said Indonesia has adopted numerous measures to make culture a driver for sustainable development.
"This includes the development of sustainable cultural tourism and cultural infrastructure. During my second term of presidency, I have reformed the Ministry of Tourism so that it can also be responsible for creative industries," he noted.
He also reminded that development could only be realized to the fullest if order and stability prevailed.
"Today, there are countries which remain under conflict situation. Under such conditions, underdevelopment and poverty tend to persist or even become worse. Therefore, nurturing a culture of peace is essential to achieving sustainable development," he stated.
The President also termed the inaugural Forums theme of "The Power of Culture in Sustainable Development" as timely.
"Indeed, the international community has recognized the significance of culture for achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. This is evident in the inter-governmental processes at work the United Nations," he added.
The Forums speakers included Prof. Amartya Kumar Sen, an Indian economist and a Nobel laureate and Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO.