Article

Nine Eastern African countries undertake participatory culture policy reviews

The Departure 2016 Ethiopia  © Courtesy Aida Muluneh, Ethiopia and David Knut Projects

Nine East African State Parties to the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions - Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda - have undertaken a national review of their national culture policies and measures taken over the past  four years to develop the cultural and creative industries sector.  

The results of these consultations are included in each country’s Quadrennial Periodic Report (QPR). Through this innovative mechanism, State Parties report on information and data, statistics and good practice on policies and measures they have adopted, and challenges encountered in implementing their culture policies and measures in their respective countries.

Ethiopia, Mauritius, Tanzania and Uganda were among the East African countries that received support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) for the preparation of their periodic reports as part of the global programme “Re|Shaping Cultural Policies for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.” The SIDA-funded programme provided specialized expertise from UNESCO’s Expert Facility for the organization of multi‐stakeholder consultation meetings with governmental and civil society actors in order to prepare the reports with a wide range of inputs from various stakeholders in the cultural and creative industries sector.

Similar financial and technical support was provided to Comoros, Kenya, Rwanda, and Madagascar from UNESCO’s Regular Programme budget to support the participatory process in their culture policy reviews, and encourage the timely submission of the periodic reports. 

The information and data collected from each of the reports submitted is drawn on to guide the internationally recognized UNESCO Global Report: Re-Shaping Culture Policies, which analyzes trends, tracks progress, identifies challenges and provides examples of innovative policies to promote the diversity of cultural expressions across the globe. The Global Report series also provides a framework to support governments and civil society in the design of evidence‐based policies.

Information sharing and transparency stands at the heart of the UNESCO 2005 Convention, and the periodic report, which is required every four years, is a process that ensures State Parties undertake cultural policy reviews involving key stakeholders.
Ms. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director and Representative, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa.

This reporting process goes well beyond a technical exercise; it is designed to support innovative, forward‐looking and evidence‐based cultural policymaking through multi‐stakeholder dialogues. These reports are key instruments for civil society to engage with government officials in assessing progress made to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions.

For more information on the UNESCO 2005 Convention, please see: https://en.unesco.org/creativity/