The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 74/230 on ‘Culture and Sustainable Development’, in December, 2019. The Resolution was developed through common application and coordination within the United Nations system which was fronted by UNESCO. It reiterates that culture plays a significant part in facilitating inclusive economic and social development, and environmental sustainability. Resolution 74/230 motivates “Member States, intergovernmental bodies, organizations of the United Nations system, relevant non-governmental organizations and all other relevant stakeholders, to give due consideration to the contribution of culture to the achievement of sustainable development in the formulation of national, regional and international development policies”. The Secretary-General of the United Nations is required to submit a progress report on the execution of the Resolution at the 76th session of the General Assembly, in fall 2021. Thus, the culture forum at UNESCO called on the WLO to provide information how the Resolution was implemented during the period from June 2019 to June 2021 from the view of the organization. WLO responded to the call by answering the proposed questions on how the WLO fosters development through the use of culture.
In order to contribute towards harnessing culture for sustainable development, the WLO, organized and participated in several activities which included the WL Games in Qingdao, China in July 2019; designation of two new WL Centers of Excellence (University of Pecs, Hungary and Université du Quebec à Trois-Rivières, Canada) in 2020; celebration of the first WL Hybrid Congress in 2021, and many more. A new strategic plan was introduced from 2021-25 surrounding the notions of research, education, knowledge transfer, advocacy and development. New programs included the World Leisure Cities initiative, World Leisure Debates, Think Tanks and the celebration of World Leisure Day. The revision of Charter for Leisure to help the entire world realize the benefits of leisure, was much appreciated. All these WLO events and activities also seek to stimulate international cooperation. The WLO has embraced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by continuing the six priorities of leisure which are: linking to UN SDGs; enhancing research and scholarship; advocating for leisure; expanding educational opportunities; strengthening partnerships and collaborative relationships; and expanding membership. The WLO also delivers grants to communities, organizations, associations, institutions and even individuals who want to implement activities that are in line with the mission, through the Strategic Priority Grants (SPGs) programme. To encourage development through culture at the regional level, the WLO is working on the new WL Cities Initiative, which aims to support cities in the development of policies, actions and programs in the field of leisure, focussing on the city level.