four-day stakeholder discussion on The Gambia quadrennial periodic reporting of
the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the promotion of the diversity of cultural
expression is currently underway at The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality
Institute (GTHI) in Kanifing.
Tourism and culture minister Hamat Bah said the Convention was established in 2005 when UNESCO realized that cultural and creative industries are among the fastest growing sectors in the world. “With an estimated global worth of 4.3 trillion USD per year, the culture sector now accounts for 6.1 percent of the global economy.”
He said one of the UNESCO reports indicated that the adoption of the 2005 Convention for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions was a milestone in international cultural policy. “Through this historic agreement, the global community formally recognised the dual nature, both cultural and economic of contemporary cultural expressions produced by artists and cultural professionals shaping the design and implementation of policies and measures that support the creation, production, distribution and access to cultural goods and services. The 2005 convention is at the heart of the creative economy.”
Minister Bah said recognising the sovereign right of states to maintain, adopt and implement policies to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expression both nationally and internationally, the 2005 Convention supports governments and civil society in finding policy solutions for emerging challenges.
Hassoum Ceesay, acting director general of National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) told participants that UNESCO has so many conventions, but the 2005 stands out for many reasons. “The Gambia ratified it in 2013 and this year is the convention which seeks to promote and protect the diversity of cultural expression.”
Mr. Ceesay said since Gambia’s change of government, UNESCO has decided to help the country prepare a report that will be presented in November at the United Nations Assembly.
Khadiatou L.A Camara, from UNESCO Dakar office said cultural and creative industries provide nearly 30 million jobs worldwide and employ more people aged between 15-29 than any other sector, adding that the creative economy constituted by these sectors have become a major driver of development and trade strategies in developed and developing countries.
Ms. Camara added that over two decades, the cultural and creative industries have evolved dramatically. “This is particularly the case in developing countries, where there is deep reliance on informal cultural systems, processes and institutions that may leave many artists and cultural professionals beyond the reach of governance, regulation and investment opportunities.”