Reshaping Cultural Policies for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Algeria
As part of the project “Rethinking Cultural Policies for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions”, funded by Sweden, Algeria will prepare its first periodic report on the implementation of the 2005 Convention.
Since adopting the UNESCO 2005 Convention in 2015, Algeria has put in place a number of measures to support creativity and artists. In 2011, the country established a National Council for the Arts and Humanities, which issues professional cards to artists and authors. The card holder is eligible for a tax identification number, which allows artists to establish contracts for artistic projects. In addition, a framework agreement was concluded between the Ministry of Culture and three insurance companies. The purpose of this framework agreement is to establish reductions and benefits for artists and workers in the cultural sector.
The participatory reporting exercise in Algeria provides a unique opportunity to report on achievements in policies and measures promoting the diversity of cultural expressions, as well as challenges for the future in order to define political priorities.
A multi-stakeholder consultation was organised in Alger on 1 and 2 October 2019 by the Ministry of Culture and the UNESCO Regional Office for Maghreb. The meeting kick-started the preparation process of Algeria’s first periodic report and raised awareness about the importance of participatory reporting processes. It brought together about 70 people, including officials from several departments of the Ministry of culture, representatives of the Ministry of Labour, public cultural institutions, seven Wilaya cultural departments, the National Council for the Arts and Humanities and cultural professionals representing diverse forms expressions including dance, theatre, audio-visual arts and publishing.
The Consultation included a series of presentations on the principles and objectives of the 2005 Convention, its monitoring tools, and methodologies for participatory preparation of a periodic report. The Ministry of Culture applied them to the local context by presenting future priorities and orientations of Algerian cultural governance as well as successful cultural policies from the past. Some examples included the measures concerning status of the artist, sectoral policies for the publishing and audio-visual sectors, cultural decentralization, and partnerships with civil society.
The presence of government representatives, regional representatives and members of civil society made it possible to conduct constructive discussions and lay the foundations for the participatory elaboration of Algeria’s periodic report.
A capacity-building workshop for the elaboration of Algeria’s first periodic report was held in Alger from 13 to 15 November 2019. The workshop, conducted by the international expert Christine Merkel, gathered around 30 participants, including representatives of central directions, general inspection, and public establishments under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture, one representative from the Tizi Ouzou Wilaya culture department, representatives from other ministerial departments (higher education and research ; labour ; employement and social security ; youth and sports ; finance ; tourism and crafts ; education ; communication) as well as cultural practitioners and civil society representatives.
The workshop included presentations of the periodic reporting and civil society forms, theoretical introductions on the Convention four goals and eleven areas of monitoring and practical group work. This space for dialogue provided an opportunity for participants to share information on Algerian cultural policies and public and community initiatives implemented in Algeria, which helped to assess the state of cultural and creative sectors in the country. At the end of the workshop, a work plan has been set up/established. It includes the next steps for the elaboration of the periodic report and provides a drafting methodology based around an editor who ensures drafting consistency/coherence, a drafting committee responsible for collecting information, informers constituting a resource network, and proofreaders.
A series of three ResiliArt debates, entitled “The artist between creativity and resilience”, was organised in Algeria by the Ministry of Culture on 4, 16 and 30 May 2020. These debates brought together artists and cultural professionals working in the Arab region and in Europe, particularly from the sectors of music, publishing, theatre, cinema, design, digital arts and plastic arts.
They provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges facing the cultural and creative sectors in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, to promote regional experience-sharing between Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia on the status of the artist and to identify the needs of the cultural ecosystem in anticipation of the drafting of a bill on the status of the artist in Algeria.
In the face of the current pandemic, which reveals the crisis affecting culture, the issue of financing creativity has also been identified as a major challenge to be taken into account, in order to ensure the sustainability of cultural projects and to fight against the precariousness of its operators. In this context, the participatory process of elaborating Algeria’s first periodic report is seen as an opportunity to take stock of the national cultural ecosystem with a view to reflecting on its future.
From 24 to 26 May 2022, the UNESCO Office in Rabat and the Ministry of Culture of Algeria hosted a three-day physical workshop in Alger to share the conclusions of Algeria’s Quadrennial Periodic Report (QPR) as well as to present the 2022 Global Report “ReIShaping Policies for Creativity”. This event which convened 49 government and civil society actors was the opportunity to exchange on how to consolidate the monitoring mechanisms started with the elaboration of Algeria’s first QPR, notably in view of the submission of the next QPR in 2024 and to collect perspectives on future actions for the implementation of the 2005 Convention at the national level. The workshop was also the occasion to present the International Fund for Cultural Diversity and its 13th call for project to reinforce the capacities of stakeholders from the public sector and civil society to benefit from the fund.