Cuba is home to incredible artistic creativity. Over the past few decades, a remarkable range of Cuba’s cultural production has found international success, extending from the athletic ballet dancing of Carlos Acosta, to the songs of Silvio Rodriguez and the paintings of Wilfredo Lam.
Thanks to decades of government investment in the culture sector, Cuba’s cultural and creative industries have an increasing potential today for economic and human development. In the field of cultural education, the country is noticeably advanced with world-renown institutions such as the International Film and Television School (EICTV). Cuba is also host to important international art events such as the Havana Art Biennale, Havana’s International Book Fair and the Havana Film Festival. Furthermore, with the current actualization and decentralization processes in the country, the culture sector is increasingly seen as a strategic productive sector. In this respect, cultural tourism has accounted for approximately 10% of GDP in Cuba in recent years.
Access to information and artistic freedom remain important areas to address in the cultural sector of the country. Artists are especially hungry for information, which has only become available for some with the most recent surge of internet access in the country. Access to information technologies can help the creative industries, mainly the music industry, to become a leading economic and export activity. In this context of rapid change, this capacity-building process provides an important opportunity to raise awareness of international standards and enhance fundamental freedoms through the 2005 Convention, while facilitating crucial dialogue between civil society, artists and the government.
The consultation meeting took place between 3-4 December 2015 and was organized jointly by the Ministry of Culture and UNESCO Havana gathering around 35 representatives of civil society organizations and the government. After a general presentation on the 2005 Convention, the participants worked in group to discuss thematic issues relating to the cultural value chain. Some issues highlighted by the group discussion include, the need for available technology in the country to be updated and the need to actualize the legislative framework in order to seize new opportunities, especially in the current digital era. The consultation meeting helped to make an initial assessment of the needs of the country in order to customize the content of the training workshop to follow.
The three-day training workshop took place in Havana between 10-12 February 2016 gathering 14 members of the national team. The workshop was divided in different units covering the different monitoring areas of the periodic report: policies and measurements, international cultural cooperation, preferential treatment, integration of culture in programs and policies of sustainable development, awareness raising and participation of civil society, and transversal themes (youth and gender). An additional drafting workshop was organized from 14 to 17 June 2016 to revamp the elaboration of the quadrennial periodic report. During the drafting workshop, a number of examples of policies and measures were gathered from different institutions and organization that had sent relevant documents regarding key monitoring areas of the periodic report. This helped to further elaborate Cuba’s periodic report.
The periodic report elaboration took place between December 2015 and December 2016. After receiving feedback from different relevant stakeholders, the report was submitted to UNESCO on 21 December 2016