27.11.2017 -

Speech: Remarks by Anne Lemaistre, UNESCO Representative in Cambodia, on the Occasion of the 2nd Art Forum on Partnerships for Culture Dynamism: Challenges and Opportunities

Co-organized by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and UNESCO Phnom Penh Office


Thursday 23rd November 2017 at 8:30 am, at MoCFA

Excellency Madam Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Cultural and Fine Arts,

H.E. Mr. Magnus Saemundsson, Representative of Sweden Embassy in Cambodia,

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Colleagues,

It is such a real joy to welcome you all for the second Art Forum ! This second Art Forum has for topic this year Partnerships for Culture Dynamism: Challenges and Opportunities.

On behalf of UNESCO, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our partners of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts the Swedish Embassy in Cambodia, the Cambodia Film Commission, Cambodian Living Arts and Phare, for their meaningful contribution to the organization of this Second Arts Forum and to make it happen.

My appreciation also goes to the Culture Task Force members and cultural NGOs who have met and discussed on numerous occasions with the colleagues from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, in particular Siyonn Sophearith and UNESCO colleagues in particular Luc Yniesta, Émilie Oudet and Hong Makara, to decide the way forward in this important event.

I wish to start this Art Forum by congratulating the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and in particular the Minister for the proposed national budget with big boosts for culture.  The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts would see the largest percentage increase, more than doubling from $20 million this year to a proposed budget of $47 million. The Ministry is THE absolute champion with an increase of 141%! So, Madame Minister, allow me to congratulate you for this achievement which is the result of your personal efforts as well as your team’s as this never happened in Cambodia before.  This is an excellent and promising news, which I hope will be reconfirmed by the National Assembly.

As you know, the Arts Forum is “the” instrument to support culture and the arts to which the Royal Cambodian Government committed itself through the adoption of the Culture Policy document in July 2014. As you remember, the cultural policy promotes artistic freedom and reflects a right balance between preservation of heritage and promotion of creativity.

In this regards, this first Art Forum was dedicated to creative industries: i.e. literature, music, contemporary performing arts, visual arts, film industry, museums, galleries, … all contributing to what we call the creative economy.

The creative economy is not only one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy in terms of income-generation, job creation and export earnings, but is also a highly transformative one in terms of liberating the potential of innovation in society, creating new cultural exchanges and fostering social development.

I am proud to say that we have implemented all of last year recommendations:

  • Appointment of a focal point at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts
  • Creation of a Cultural Task Force
  • Art Forum organized every year.

Today’s Arts Forum will be focusing on the possible partnerships to support Culture and precisely on the challenges and opportunities of the famous PPP (Public, Private, partnership).

It is thus, a platform for all cultural actors and institutions to sit together to exchange views, concerns, challenges and ideas.

This Arts Forum constitutes a unique occasion for the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to listen to all stakeholders and possible partners, their requests, suggestions and feedbacks, for the development of a vibrant cultural life.

The morning session will focus on ways the public sector can contribute to cultural development, with distinguished panellists considering models of public policies, funding for culture, present and envisioned practices favorable to culture and lessons learned through cooperation. It is also an opportunity to convince other Ministries and Institutions to do more for culture and to contribute to cultural development in Cambodia such as:

  • How they could contribute to the Fund for the promotion of Culture proposed by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts,
  • the promotion of Cambodian artists in each Cambodian meeting abroad, in each Cambodian Embassy;
  • an exoneration of taxes for cultural social enterprises or
  • a mechanism similar to the one in France and Korea to support the film industry which will be presented to us by the CFC.

UNESCO promotes the idea that culture is not a product like the others and needs an enabling environment to flourish. I thank all the representatives of the different ministries to share their views and experiences.

Following lunch, the afternoon session will focus on ways the private sector can contribute to cultural development, with panelists considering the importance of creative industries to the economy, opportunities for mutual benefit, the importance of foundations in financing cultural activities, lessons learned in seeking corporate support and presentations of sponsoring policies.

What kind of incentives, the Government can offer to the Private Sector to convince it to invest to support Cambodian culture and Artist? Some visibility? Recognition with a price? Fiscal incentives? This needs to be discussed further.

The Art Forum intends for all its participants to come away with a stronger sense of the work that needs to be done in order for Cambodia to tap into its rich cultural legacies and boundless creative possibilities.

Our sincere gratitude goes again to the sponsors of this forum and to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and especially the Organizing National Team including my UNESCO colleagues, for their hard work in close collaboration with all partners involved.

I would also like to express my deep gratitude to all the artists, speakers, moderators, and all participants for their valuable time to attend and animate today’s art forum. May I finally suggest to the moderators and rapporteurs to collect all inputs from speakers and participants, to formulate recommendations and potential subjects of our next annual Arts Forum.

Thank you for your kind attention! Enjoy the day!

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