Cultural and creative industries are experiencing a new era in Viet Nam. In 2014, Viet Nam developed its first “National Strategy for the Development of the Cultural Industries by 2020, with a vision to 2030”, recognizing the key role of culture to the country’s development. In tandem, the country’s growing middle class has become ever more interested in enjoying creative and cultural products emerging from the nation’s vibrant fashion, music, and film industries. This burgeoning national market coupled with Viet Nam’s large export of cultural goods (US$489. 15 million in 2013 according to UNESCO Institute for Statistics) represents a powerful opportunity for cultural and creative industries.
In recent years, Viet Nam has also established several mechanisms to ensure the participation of cultural professionals in the governance of culture. Structures operating at both the national and regional levels exist such as the musician’s association, the writer’s association and other civil society networks.
This capacity building action comes at a vital time for Vietnam with the country poised to take full advantage of its rich and diverse cultural assets. The activities strengthening periodic reporting provide an opportunity to show where progress has been made and where gaps still exist. At the same time, the project offers the possibility to strengthen the dialogue between the government and civil society and ensure participatory policy monitoring processes.
The consultation meeting, organized jointly between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and UNESCO Hanoi, was held on 23 November 2015 in Ha Noi. It gathered some 50 participants representing both government and civil society organizations. The opening speech was delivered by Mr. Huynh Vinh Ai, Vice-Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism; Ms. Katherine Muller-Marin Representative of UNESCO to Viet Nam; and Mr. Gustav Dahlin, Second Secretary from the Embassy of Sweden. The participants at a plenary session were divided into sectorial groups (e.g. film, visual arts, publishing) to discuss the current policy environment, the challenges, and the question of “youth” and gender in their respective sectors. The deliberation of the group discussions were presented to the participants and a framework of the quadrennial periodic report of the 2005 Convention was presented in order to indicate what the work ahead is.
The training workshop was organized from 24 to 26 November 2015 in Ha Noi gathering 15 national team members. Considering the high level of understanding of the periodic reporting structure in Viet Nam thanks to past UNESCO-led projects implementing the 2005 Convention and the first periodic report submitted by Viet Nam in 2013, the workshop was geared more towards practical exercises, supporting the national team members to start drafting the report. Some of the challenges raised during the discussion vis-à-vis Viet Nam’s cultural sector included: the lack of detailed and consistent data across the cultural sector and the informality of much contemporary practice, with government efforts on culture focusing more on “traditional practices”.
The drafting of the periodic report by the national team took place between November 2015 and June 2016. The public presentation of the draft periodic report took place on 28 March 2016 in Ha Noi, gathering approximately 77 participants from civil society and the government. It gave the opportunity to the participants to provide further inputs and generate a wider sense of ownership of the periodic reporting process. It also contributed to raising awareness about the core aims and objectives of the Convention. After feedback was integrated, the report was submitted to UNESCO on 30 June 2016.