The global conference of Ministers of culture in support of creative industries was held under the auspices of UNESCO
On April 22, UNESCO in collaboration with CISAC organized an unprecedented online conference attended by more than 130 culture Ministers from all continents. The topic that brought together representatives of cultural agencies is the search for the most effective measures that can support the cultural sphere in the time of lockdown and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opening the conference, UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay emphasized the importance and at the same time the vulnerability of culture: “Achievements of several decades of cultural policies are now endangered because of the fragility of the cultural sector. Employing around 30 million people worldwide and make 3% of the global GDP, the economic importance of the cultural sector is undeniable and there will be no sustainable economic recovery without it”.
The conference demonstrated that all over the world, cultural industries have faced identical problems and have become the most affected part: a large number of small and medium-sized businesses and self-employed people are involved in culture, and many artists and musicians are not formally registered in any way. At the same time, budget support for culture remains insufficient and is provided at the last turn.
However, many countries have already implemented both urgent measures and strategic programs to overcome the crisis in cultural industries.
For the vast majority of countries, digital technologies have become the basis for strategic cultural development in the near future. According to the Minister of culture of the United Arab Emirates, Nura Al Kaabi, “we must discuss the development of a comprehensive digital economy of culture and a plan to support those cultural industries that are difficult to transpose into the virtual environment.” Governments need to support cultural industries in the digital environment by strengthening intellectual property protection.
Among the anti-crisis measures taken by the governments of different countries, the following can be distinguished:
– Creation of special creative funds;
– Funding emergency support programs at the end of the isolation period;
-Provision of interest-free loans, tax holidays and tax exemptions, debt moratoriums, extended payment plans, etc.
– Online promotion of cultural initiatives and education, investment in digital libraries, museums, etc.;
– Providing tools and platforms for creating and distributing of works in the digital environment;
– Monitoring of socio-cultural changes related to the crisis;
– Legalization of the professional status of the creator.
Such a large-scale event once again proved that culture is a truly global bridge between people and countries. The Ministers stressed the need to strengthen the dialogue for the continuous exchange of successful anti-crisis practices, but it is important not to forget that culture is primarily a collective experience and emotions, and contacts between people should be restored as soon as it becomes safe.
QUOTES FROM MINISTERS OF CULTURE:
“A global coordinated response is needed to face a global challenge. Our efforts must go beyond the borders of individual countries. We must help the cultural sector both through economic and social support measures”
“Cultural democracy is at stake and we need to make sure that intellectual property rights are respected. It is up to us as public authorities to ensure that the cultural ecosystem and all of its diversity is maintained throughout this crisis and that it comes out stronger. Creative stakeholders must be at the hearts of the initiatives we undertake”
“The current crisis shows the major importance of policies supporting cultural sector at all stages of the value chain and confirms the need to integrate culture at the heart of sustainable development policies.”
“To revive the cultural sector, we must not only ensure its financial survival but also preserve its wealth and creativity. Giant digital platforms must contribute more to the system from which they are benefitting greatly by ensuring that artists receive the remuneration due to them for the use of their works.”
“In the face of a global pandemic it is essential to have a multilateral response. UNESCO must be the main forum to drive joint initiatives to help us address the impact of the crisis and protect the unique value of culture”