In 2005, the Parliament approved the development plan Sustainable Estonia 21, which contains guidelines regarding the social sphere as well. It points out the increase of the appreciation of local identity as a counter-reaction to globalisation; local and regional attempts to diverge from globally spreading trends; to value the local language and culture. It is also essential for the preservation of cultural memory and the sustainability of the Estonian cultural space that the most important cultural texts — i.e. Estonian music, classical literature, repository of visual arts, recordings of theatre performances, films, radio and TV archive, cultural history archive, folklore treasury — are made available in the digital environment.
In the educational sphere, Sustainable Estonia 21 considers it important to ensure that an education in the Estonian language and related to the Estonian culture is provided in Estonia, while being internationally competitive, grounded on developments in modern sciences and technology and connecting the Estonian culture with world culture. Such education will integrate the national identity with professionalism, social skills and the global cultural horizon.
Welfare is defined as the satisfaction of the material, social and cultural needs of individuals, accompanied by opportunities for individual self-realisation and for realising one’s aspirations and goals.
The Culture Endowment of Estonia and such state support programmes like Theatre to Rural Areas (a programme helps professional performing arts institutions and dance troupes to hold guest performances in countryside), Support for Music Festivals, Support for Private Organisers and Music Groups help to reduce the social divide, the urban-rural difference and effectively implement the social effects of cultural policy by improving access to the arts.
According to the Ministry of Justice guidelines, an important objective of regional policy is to ensure the sustainable development of all regions, based on their own development preconditions and characteristics. The assessment of the impact of a local legislation or a development plan on regional development must focus on the specific situation and assumptions of the certain region. Legislation or a development plan can affect different regions and places in a variety of ways, depending primarily on their geographical (including location), social, demographic and historical-cultural background.