In recent years, Burkina Faso has seen a consolidation of its legislative support for the cultural sector as evinced by the National Policy for the Development of Culture (2009) and the Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development 2011-2015. Most recently, the National Plan for Economic and Social Development 2016-2020 (PNDES) has highlighted the cultural industries as one of the strategic economic sectors having a potential for job creation and revenue generation.
Other government efforts have focused on the integration of arts and culture in the Burkinabe educational system, which has received support from UNESCO through EU-funded technical assistance missions with culture experts. In this regard, the Strategy for the Development of the Arts and Culture in the Burkina Faso Education System was adopted by the government in 2015. The creation of the CERAV (Regional Centre for living arts in Africa) as a UNESCO Category II Center for the implementation of the 2005 Convention is a pioneering effort of the government. Burkina Faso was also one of the 11 pilot countries to implement a UNESCO’s Culture for Development Indicators (CDIS) project which helped to highlight the potential of the cultural sector for socio-economic development of the country.
Some challenges remain, however, with the absence of baseline statistical data or studies that allow for the elaboration of policies that address particular industries (e.g. film, music, performing arts). At the same time, the decentralization of the governance of culture is expected to bring about better local development. Against this backdrop, this capacity-building mission provides an important opportunity to determine strategic priorities for the future by gathering data and building indicators on the state of the affairs of the cultural sector.
The consultation meeting took place on 30 November 2016 in Ouagadougou gathering more than 40 representatives of civil society and the government. The meeting was opened by M. Tahirou Barry, Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism. It focused on general presentation of the 2005 Convention and the capacity-building project. Additionally, a presentation was made on the experience of Burkina Faso drafting their first quadrennial periodic report in 2013 and the challenges encountered during this process. On this occasion, an installation ceremony took place gathering the members of the national team in charge of elaborating the periodic report in the coming months. A training workshop also took place on 1 December 2016 gathering 11 journalists and media professionals. The purpose of the workshop was to raise awareness on the intrinsic link between media diversity and diversity of cultural expressions through the 2005 Convention. During the workshop, the international experts leading the exercise also recalled the important role that journalists play as mediators in charge of informing and analyzing cultural expressions.
The training workshop took place in Bobo Dioulasso between 24-26 January 2017 gathering 20 participants from the national team. Following a general presentation on the objectives of the 2005 Convention, the workshops focused on the different monitoring areas of the quadrennial periodic report. A specific emphasis was placed on the importance of inter-ministerial cooperation to integrate culture into sustainable development, the links between media diversity and diverse cultural expressions, the issue of preferential treatment and different mechanisms and procedures of participative policy-making. Altogether, the workshop provided a much-needed platform for dialogue amongst different representatives of civil society, the government and media institutions. Building on the first periodic report submitted by Burkina Faso in 2013, the active and continued engagement of national stakeholders to promote the diversity of cultural expressions was highlighted, and areas of progress and future challenges and opportunities were outlined. An additional drafting workshop was also organized between 16-18 March 2017 amongst different members of the national team and the team coordinator to galvanize the elaboration of the periodic report and further take ownership of the drafting process.
On 25 April, a restitution was held at the Ouagadougou City Council with the national team responsible for drawing up the periodic report. The discussion was opened by M. Tahirou Barry, Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism, and provided an opportunity for civil society members and government representatives alike to debate the content of the report. The restitution also identified a number of measures aimed at strengthening the diversity of cultural expressions, including the creation of an inter-ministerial consultation framework and a multi-party monitoring mechanism on the implementation of the 2005 Convention. Amongst the challenges identified, the need to enhance public and private financing in the creative industries as well as developing audience were discussed. The second periodic report will soon be formally submitted to UNESCO and published on the 2005 Convention website.