Creative Pacific for Sustainable Development
Development of cultural industries for sustainable development in the Pacific
Pacific arts and crafts have strong social and cultural significances. Over centuries, Pacific islanders have developed arts of exchange of its wealth. Through this exchange, they have nurtured bonds among remote islands and communties scattered across the Pacific ocean.
Although the Pacific is still a net importer of cultural goods, Pacific cultural industries are emerging supported by pioneering entrepreneurs. This represents a great opportunity for the Pacific community.
A study “Development and Marketing Strategies for Pacific Cultural Industries” (SPC/F. McComb, 2012) identifies sub-sectors of cultural industries as particlarly promising areas. This includes fashion (haute couture, prêt-a-porter, and mass market) and visual arts (paintings, sculpture, antiques, photography, installations) and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events). The study also points to a necessity of promotion and marketing strategies for their further growth.
At present, there are three Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) in the Pacific PICTA, PACER, SPARTECA which aim to increase intra-region trade. The region is currently working on PACER+ which will include Australia and New Zealand with the aim of expanding free trade to the broader region. Also, EU has been in negotiations with the Pacific since 2008 to create an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to replace the Lome/Cotonou Convention. The study provides useful information on the potential impacts of the above trade agreements on Pacific cultural industries. Strong pro-cultural policies can provide a path for development of Pacific cultural industries.
UNESCO 2005 Convention
As part of its normative actions, UNESCO has been promoting the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the Pacific region. The 2005 Convention is about the cultural goods and services of contemporary expressions.
The Convention is considered the first standard setting instrument that puts culture and development at its core. The Convention encourages Parties to recognise the dual nature of cultural goods and services - cultural and economic -, and take them into account in their national policies for culture and development strategies. It aims to strengthen cultural industries, particularly in developing countries.
As a follow up of the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Forum on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (Dhaka, May 2012), a regional launch of the 2005 Convention in the Pacific was made at the Meeting of Culture Ministers held on the occasion of the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts (Honiara, Solomon Islans, July 2012). The Meeting also endorsed the Pacific Culture Strategy: Investing in the Pacific Cultures (2010-2020).
Cultural Policy and Regional Cooperation
Pacific Member States organise annual events to celebrate relevant international days in order to raise awareness of the cultural contribution to sustainable development and mainstream culture into development policy, strategy and plan at all levels.
The Pacific Plan endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum enshrines the vision of the Pacific Leaders and the goal of strengthening regional cooperation and integration. The Pacific Plan 2005 states "We treasure the diversity of the Pacific and seek a future in which its cultures, traditions and religious beliefs are valued, honoured and developed."
The First Regional Cultural Statistics Meeting was held in Suva in 2011 in cooperation with SPC and UIS in order to discuss how to take account of the specificities of the Pacific region in the application of the UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics (2009) to develop cultural statistics in the region.