Cultural Diplomacy in the Time of COVID-19: Updating SDG-17 (Partnership for Goals)

Cultural Diplomacy in the Time of COVID-19: Updating SDG-17 (Partnership for Goals)

Publication details

  • Friday | 09 Apr, 2021
  • Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani
  • Policy Review/Analyses
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Introduction In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hindered progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development leaving the world in despair. As a result, the world felt the need to continue working together, reconceptualising the goals, and finding actual targets in 2021. This study focuses on concept and challenges of cultural diplomacy as a mean of sustainable development. It further discusses cultural diplomacy in connection with the SDG-17 (‘partnerships for the goals’). The study also suggests how to actualize its targets. SDG-17 has 19 targets (Appendix 1). This study suggests addition of 20th target with title: “encourage effective cultural diplomacy”, keeping in view the current situation of the pandemic. Pakistan is a country with rich history, diverse music and languages, different cuisines, and ancient sites like Mohenjo-daro2 , and Makli Necropolis3. On the contrary, the country is known in the world for extremism, religious intolerance, border tensions especially with India on Kashmir issue, etc. A major reason for the negative image of Pakistan is global media’s propaganda. In such a scenario, Pakistan needs to have a comprehensive plan and policy to promote its soft image more efficiently. The country’s foreign policy needs to embed with clear-cut expressions of cultural diplomacy. In 2021, Pakistan ranked 10th most powerful country in terms of military strength (Global Firepower Index 2021); whereas it is now placed at 53rd position on the Soft Power Index (Salam 2020). Taking advantage of its rich culture, it can benefit from cultural diplomacy. Not only Pakistan can build a fair image of itself, but it can also attract more international partnerships to achieve the SDGs.