Since the early 2000s, several intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) have advanced the idea that the creative economy could be a ‘feasible development option’. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) took the lead by preparing the 2008 and 2010 Creative Economy Reports, whereas the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNDP executed the 2013 report. The article – based on an actor-centred institutionalism – explores the role IGOs have played in the promulgation of the ‘creative economy’ policy agenda. Through a socio-political analysis, we reveal how IGOs act and interact with each other vis-à-vis ‘creative economy’ policy agenda making. On one hand, the article seeks to highlight why and how IGOs include the creative economy within their priorities and use the concept, influence or challenge its orientations. On the other hand, it aims to examine their ability to act in common in order to globalize the ‘creative economy’ policy agenda and create new forms of cultural industries governance.