UNESCO promotes peer-to-peer learning on policies for creativity in Namibia

“As we have entered the last decade of action for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and in view of the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brought about, I think we all agree on the urgent need for adaptation of the cultural sector in order to become more robust and resilient. I have no doubt that this workshop will serve as a policy lab that will generate innovative and creative proposals for the future post-COVID-19”, highlighted H.E. Sinnika Antila, European Union Ambassador to Namibia at the workshop opening.

Between 29 March and 1 April 2022, UNESCO in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Arts of Namibia organized a “Peer-to-peer learning workshop on policies for creativity: Monitoring and implementing the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” in Swakopmund, Namibia.

The workshop gathered more than 50 participants from Botswana, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Gabon, Georgia, Jamaica, Namibia, Palestine, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe as well as experts from Argentina, Cuba, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, as well as representatives of UNESCO headquarters and Field Offices from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Jamaica, Mexico, Kenya, Palestine, and Namibia.

 

Fostering peer-to-peer learning and South-South cooperation

The workshop reflected on participatory policy monitoring and policy making for creativity within the framework of the 2005 Convention. It enabled a space for this emerging community of practice to strengthen working and create new opportunities for collaboration. "This peer-to-peer learning was a wonderful example of creativity, balance and freedom of expression. The process allowed for open, honest, reflective and even provocative exchanges," noted Avril Joffe (South Africa), UNESCO Expert Facility Member. 

The peer-to-peer learning approach facilitates policy making processes through a robust exchange of knowledge, expertise, skills, and mutual learning. It also promotes South-South learning and knowledge exchange, which represents a powerful tool to tackle development challenges and find locally appropriate solutions. "I was amazed at how similar the situation is across the African continent, and the global south in general, regarding policy frameworks and regulation of the cultural sector. Many governments are grappling to understand how the sector operates,” expressed Polly Kamukama (Uganda), National expert.

 

Promoting UNESCO’s latest research products and tools

A public launch of the 2022 Global Report: “ReIshaping policies for creativity: Addressing culture as a global public good” also took place. This UNESCO flagship publication provides a unique global overview on the state of the cultural and creative sectors with new data that sheds light on emerging trends and puts forward policy recommendations to foster sustainable creative ecosystems. Two panel discussions focused on linkages between national and global monitoring for creativity, as well as to explore both opportunities and challenges for inclusive cultural and creative industries in the digital environment.

Several recent publications and tools were additionally presented  on key areas such as artistic freedom, the status of the artist, gender equality, and the creative economy. Finally, the digital environment, through the “Open Roadmap for the implementation of the 2005 Convention”, and the film sector, through the report on “The African film industry: trends, challenges and opportunities for growth” were highlighted as two key policy areas for the strategic development of the cultural and creative sectors.

 

Strengthening participatory policy processes for creativity and democracy

This three-day event was organised within the framework of the European Union/UNESCO Programme “Supporting new regulatory frameworks to strengthen the cultural and creative industries and promote South-South cooperation”, and the Programme “Reshaping cultural policies for the promotion of fundamental freedoms and the diversity of cultural expressions”, funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). Both projects address participatory policy making and policy monitoring and promoted participation and dialogue exchange. As both projects end in 2022, the workshop offered the opportunity to discuss participatory methodology and specific issues such as consultation fatigue or how to adequately engage with stakeholders from the cultural and creative sectors.

 

This workshop opened our minds and created the possibility to emulate actions that could be applied in our countries and create great benefit for the creative and cultural sector

Monica Salazar (Costa Rica), Head of Vice Minister’s Culture Office, shared.