Colombia takes note of its creative potential during presentation of first periodic report

On 17 May, Colombia presented its first quadrennial report of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The restitution meeting took place in the Palacio de San Carlos, headquarters of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the national team responsible for the elaboration of the periodic report, the UNESCO Quito Office, and various ministries involved.

The preparation of the periodic report, initiated in November 2016, consisted of a highly participatory process, involving members of civil society and government representatives from the national team. The drafting process, designed within the framework of the project "Enhancing Fundamental Freedoms through the promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions", funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA),also benefited from the support of two members of the 2005 Convention Expert Facility, Omar Lopez Olarte and Gisèle Dupin.

The presentation of the report was led by the Vice Minister of Culture, Zulia Mena García, Director of Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Santiago Jara; Coordinator of the Cultural Entrepreneurship Group of the Ministry of Culture, Adriana Gonzalez; and Representative from the Embassy of Sweden, Sofia Dohmen. A high number of civil society representatives from different cultural industries including dance, publishing, music and cinema, were also amongst the participants of the presentation.

Good practices

The report presents the main measures and policies implemented, as well as the challenges encountered, to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions in Colombia in the areas of relevance to the Convention:  governance for culture, trade in cultural goods and services and mobility of artists, culture and sustainable development, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The report proposes recommendations for future policy action for the next four years.

"With the preparation of the first quadrennial report, we confirm that our policies and measures are aligned with the objectives of the 2005 Convention, and that their impact has been positive for the sector and the economy," commented Adriana Gonzalez. "Examples of this, include amongst others, the legislative framework for the development of cinema, the Policy for Entrepreneurship and Cultural Industries, the Communications Policy, the Public Spectacles Act and the initiatives developed by the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications"

Among the policies and measures included in the report are the laws on cinema and public entertainment. Law 814 of 2003, for example, promotes the development of the national film industry through financial support. While in 2003 only three Colombian films were released, the number increased to 199 in 2016. The Public Spectacles Act of 2011, on its part, has contributed to formalize and strengthen the performing arts sector in Colombia through the increase of financial resources and simplification of administrative procedures to organize such events.

Together, these measures presented in the report aim to consolidate cultural industries as an increasingly solid sector whose contribution to the country's GDP currently represents 1.5 points. Colombia also recently passed the “Orange law” (Read here for more information) which seeks to developand enhance the cultural industries of the country.