In every society, arts and culture matter. In its efforts to contribute to the reduction of poverty and inequality, the SDC seeks to identify and build on the cultural resources, local knowledge, and creative forces available in the societies where it works. This approach is applied in all of the thematic areas and regions where the SDC is active. In addition, the SDC allocates funding specifically earmarked for the culture sector of its partner countries as well as to facilitate access for artists and culture professionals from the South and East to the Swiss and international markets. Art and culture are important factors in peacebuilding and sustainable development. Art and culture encourage freedom of expression, peacebuilding and sustainable development. The SDC's commitment in this sector allows it to promote crucial drivers of social change.
Artists, who appeal both to the intellect and the emotions to get their message across, are key drivers of social change. The SDC's support for art and culture, in particular the promotion of an independent culture sector, seeks to strengthen civil society and promote social cohesion, freedom of expression, good governance and democracy in partner countries, in particular in fragile contexts. In its projects, the SDC also considers the positive influence the culture sector has on tourism, employment and the economy.
The SDC's engagement seeks to support local cultural endeavours in partner regions and countries and to help artists from the South and the East to reach audiences and access markets and cultural industry networks in Switzerland and worldwide. The SDC bases its work in the field on a broad definition of art and culture, which includes forms of expression in popular and traditional culture.
The cultural dimension plays a crucial role in international cooperation projects. Sensitivity to cultural elements helps improve the quality of processes and achieve goals in a more sustainable way.
Activities in partner countries
In its partner countries, the SDC supports local cultural projects. The choice of partners and forms of cultural expression is geared to local needs and the SDC's priorities in a given context. An independent, diverse and inclusive culture sector can contribute in a decisive and original manner to sustainable development objectives, whether it be strengthening civil society, participation in cultural life, freedom of expression, contributing to the development of pluralistic societies, managing a conflict or post-conflict periods or social cohesion.
The SDC works to provide artists with opportunities to undertake further training, to develop their activities, organisations and networks, and to gain respect for their rights, recognition of their work and an improvement in their general conditions. As well as supporting artistic production and outlets, Switzerland helps strengthen cultural organisations and institutions. The SDC promotes cultural and artistic activities that create a space for dialogue and debate, building bridges between different population groups. The SDC also seeks to encourage a lively, diverse and independent culture scene that strengthens civil society, especially in rural and remote areas.