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Haiti: cultural industry strategies for cultural reconstruction

Context
Following the earthquake in 2010, Haiti has been working hard to rebuild the country. One of the ways the country has shaped its reconstruction is by incorporating culture and art into economic and social development processes, with the support of numerous international agencies, notably the European Development Fund (EDF), the Spanish AECID and the OIF.

In July 2011, with the support of the EDF, the country organised a series of meetings (Assises Nationales de la Culture) gathering civil society, cultural practitioners, public representatives and development agencies, which lead to a series of recommendations for the future of the culture sector in the country.

© UNESCO

Aim of the mission
Working on the basis of these recommendations and other reconstruction activities, this technical assistance mission supported the Ministry in its efforts to strengthen the country's cultural industries, with a particular focus on copyright issues and the publishing industry. These activities aimed to gradually reinvigorate Haiti's culture sector, ensuring that contemporary creation and cultural industries are central to Haiti's reconstruction efforts. In close collaboration with local teams, Youma Fall (Senegal) and William Codjo (Benin) provided their recognised expertise in cultural development strategies to assist them in the design of strategies to strengthen the cultural industries.

Activities undertaken
During their first country visit in October and November 2012, the experts carried out a number of consultations and research activities in order to fully comprehend the particularities, strengths and challenges faced by the cultural industries sector in the country. Particular attention was given to understanding the specificities of the Haitian book industry and to copyright practices in the country. Consequently the experts consulted numerous artists and members of the publishing, music, visual arts and cinema sectors, as well as the main representatives of civil society active in the culture sector. They also visited many book production and distribution sites.

The second country visit in December 2012 started with the completion of field research, before focusing on the drafting of the sectoral strategies. The experts included all the relevant stakeholders throughout this process, by first sharing with them their diagnostic work and possible lines of approach before working together on the drafting process. The objective of this collaborative approach, with a large involvement of culture sector stakeholders, was to ensure the local relevance and application of the finalised strategies. The experts also participated in the first Haitian forum on copyright issues from 12 to 14 December, organised in partnership with WIPO and enjoying the participation of the Head of the Haitian State.

Results
The collaborative and inclusive approach used during this mission enabled the design of two strategy documents. The first, focusing on stimulating the publishing sector, suggests concrete measures to develop a real synergy between the professionals in the book value chain and the governmental and civil society representatives, in order to establish the foundations of a stable sector that fosters creativity and talent, with particular attention given to young writers. The second strategy, focusing on copyright issues, offers recommendations to improve the legal frameworks that aim to support the emergence of cultural and creative industries in Haiti. Guidelines and action plans are notably suggested to help introduce an effective regulatory framework that favours the emergence of dynamic and competitive cultural industries.

Both strategies contain strong communication and awareness-raising components, targeting all the relevant governmental, private and civil society stakeholders. Thus, the successful mobilisation of the different stakeholders undertaken during this mission will continue to expand, guaranteeing the continuity of the sustainable dynamisation process of the Haitian cultural industries.

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