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Comoros mobilizes national stakeholders to validate its cultural policy review

Participants in the national validation meeting in Moroni© DGAC/Comoros

On 13 August 2020, the Direction Generale of Arts and Culture of the Union of Comoros brought together stakeholders in Moroni to review and validate a national report assessing policies and measures undertaken to promote and support the cultural and creative industries sector in Comoros, which will be submitted to UNESCO as the country’s first quadrennial periodic report on national implementation of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The UNESCO 2005 Convention, which was ratified by Comoros in 2013, ensures artists, cultural professionals, practitioners and citizens worldwide can create, produce, disseminate and enjoy a broad range of cultural goods, services and activities, including their own.  Recognizing that culture can no longer be just a by-product of development, but rather the mainspring for sustainable development, the Convention ushers in a new international framework for the governance and management of culture.

The Periodic Reporting process provides an—often unique--opportunity for national authorities to initiate an open dialogue with cultural practitioners and other stakeholders in order to review the concrete measures they have taken to promote and protect the cultural and creative industries as well as the actions undertaken by individuals or civil society. A critical evaluation of challenges faced and accomplishments gained over the past four years enables the report to point the way forward for policy and capacity building changes needed in the next four years in order to benefit from the potential of the cultural and creative industries to contribute to sustainable development.

UNESCO supported Comoros in this process by providing an expert from the 2005 Convention Expert Facility to guide the national authorities step by step through the requirements for their national report preparation. Ms. Tojo Yharimanana Rakotomalala, an expert in cultural and creative industries and cultural policy from Madagascar, was engaged by UNESCO to advise the Direction of Arts and Culture and lead consultations with civil society and other stakeholders. UNESCO also engaged the Center for Artistic and Cultural Creation of the Comoros (CCAC-Mavuna) to support the participatory consultation process and organize a national online debate entitled ResiliArt|Comoros, which was part of the global ResiliArt movement launched by UNESCO following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lastly, UNESCO supported the Direction General of Arts and Culture with funds needed to organize national consultation meetings with a variety of stakeholders.

As part of the preparation of their national report, Comoros cultural stakeholders examined the impact of national events such as the Contemporary Arts Festival and the Comoros International Film Festival as well as their participation in international cultural events. The goal of the Periodic Reporting process is to encourage the introduction of cultural policies and measures that nurture creativity, provide access for creators to participate in domestic and international marketplaces where their artistic works/expressions can be recognized and compensated and ensure these expressions are accessible to the public at large. It also aims to recognize and optimize the overall contribution of the cultural industries to economic and social development, particularly in developing countries such as the Union of Comoros. The Periodic Report also serves as a means to integrate culture into sustainable development strategies and national development policies. Lastly, it works to promote international cooperation to facilitate the mobility of artists as well as the flow of cultural goods and services, especially those from the South.

Following its validation, Comoros final Periodic Report will be published on the UNESCO Diversity of Cultural Expressions web site and will also contribute to UNESCO’s Global Policy Monitoring Report “Re|Shaping Cultural Policies”, which highlights trends and innovative practices, policies and measures around the world.

First meeting of the National team to prepare Comoros periodic report in Feb 2020 ©CCAC Mavuna

For more information on the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, see: https://en.unesco.org/creativity/convention