An African-European Research about Arts and Development
Edited By Wolfgang Schneider and Daniel Gad
Towards a Better Governance of Culture for Development.Mobilising Tacit Knowledge in and through UNESCO
Christine M. Merkel
Over the last five years, there is ample evidence that the cultural sector and its stakeholders have been undergoing substantial change. This change process is substantial and it will continue. Partially it has come to the forefront because of the European financial crisis since 2008/09 and vocal anti-culture policies in some EU-countries (e.g. the threat of closing up to 20 per cent of public libraries in Great Britain in 2010 or reducing central budget spending for contemporary performing and visual arts by 35 to 40 per cent in the Netherlands in 2012). On the other hand, motivation for change results from more positively inspired strategic pro-change processes. Inspiring examples are the ‘Cultura Viva’ participatory cultural policy of Brazil, a medium term development strategy for society since 2007, or the ten-year comprehensive long-term strategy on the importance of cultural factors for development, poverty reduction and human rights issues as reported by Norway in 2012.
It is in this context that UNESCO has launched for the first time in its operational history a specific expert facility to strengthen the system of governance for culture at the national and/or local level, thus assisting developing country Parties to implement the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE). The applying public authorities were required to ensure significant civil society engagement as an entry point to transforming governance. South-South-North tandems and teams were made available for 13 country missions in Latin...
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