Fostering culture for sustainable development through deeper dialogue in Burkina Faso

The importance of deepening dialogue to ensure participative, transparent and informed culture policy making and implementation was singled out as the main driver for boosting the diversity of cultural expressions in Burkina Faso. Meeting in Bobo-Dioulasso, twenty-two experts spent three days in a capacity building workshop designed to monitor and bolster national cultural policy.

The highly participative workshop brought together representatives from the government authorities, civil society, the media and other cultural professionals for a rich exchange on how to continue work on promoting its cultural sector which employs 2% of the population and devise strategies for sustainable development.

With a view to developing the country’s second Quadrennial Periodic Report on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, the experts gathered at the UNESCO Category II Centre, the Centre Régional pour les Arts Vivants en Afrique (CERAV/Afrique), and discussed progress since the submission of the first report in 2013.  These discussions were part of a larger project funded by the Swedish government called ‘Enhancing Fundamental Freedoms through the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions”.

Many strong voices

Whilst dialogue on cultural policy in Burkina Faso is already well established, participants proposed that this could be further strengthened by creating a permanent consultation mechanism on the 2005 Convention.

The link between the media and the diversity of cultural content was also underlined. “The media plays a key role for facilitating new voices and ensuring diverse cultural forms are accessible to all,” said journalist Marguerite Doanio. Incorporating culture into the new policies on information and publicity would help to advance this work.

Ensuring increased inter-ministerial cooperation was also singled out as a priority, particularly for reinforcing processes for monitoring, evaluating and reviewing cultural policies, in cooperation with civil society actors.

New dynamism

One of the first countries to ratify the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, back in 2006, Burkina Faso has progressively established a solid legal framework for consolidating its creative industries. It has also been taking full advantage of the benefits of being part of this international mechanism. It has, for instance, implemented the UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators and benefited from the International Fund for Cultural Diversity, through 3 projects, including support for the “Récréâtrales” annual international theatre festival gathering fifteen African countries in 2010.

“Through an effective implementation of the 2005 Convention, Burkina Faso has great potential to add new dynamism to its cultural sector in way that is innovative and inclusive and fosters sustainable development,” said Désiré Ouedraogo, the Coordinator of the National Team working on the preparation of the second Quadrennial Periodic Report of Burkina Faso. This report, currently underway, will highlight challenges encountered and propose concrete measures for action to ensure that policies for the culture sector, based on the principles of the 2005 Convention, can be established.