Following the earthquake in 2010, the Government of Haiti has emphasized the role of culture in recovery processes and development strategies. .
Despite political volatility, high crime and unemployment, the Government is determined to give an important role to the book industry in the country’s complex recovery and development process.
In 2011, following a series of landmark meetings with artists, cultural professionals, NGOs and international organizations, the Ministry of Culture and Communication committed itself to drafting a national policy for the country’s cultural industries, beginning with its promising book industry. In this context, the Haitian government sought technical assistance from UNESCO.
This technical assistance mission supported the Ministry of Culture and Communication through consultations and evaluations in its efforts to prepare a policy strategy for the book industry. Another aim was to work with the Haitian Office of Copyright to revise legal frameworks for the protection of writers and other artists.
The experts found that:
- low literacy rate and limited purchasing power of many Haitians have hindered a domestic book industry from growing
- there is an acute need for training, information-sharing, and motivational, organizational and technical mentoring across the sector.
The collaborative and inclusive approach used during this mission enabled the design of two strategy documents.
- The first strategy, focusing on stimulating the publishing sector, offers concrete measures to develop a real synergy between professionals in the book value chain, governmental and civil society representatives, in order to establish the foundations for a stable sector that fosters creativity and talent, with particular attention given to young writers.
- The second strategy, focusing on copyright issues, offers recommendations to improve the legal frameworks that aim to support the emergence of cultural and creative industries in Haiti. Guidelines and action plans are notably suggested to help introduce an effective regulatory framework that favours the emergence of dynamic and competitive cultural industries.
Please consult here a summary of the overall results of the missions and the future steps to be taken.
During their first country mission, the experts:
- studied the context in order to fully comprehend the particularities, strengths and challenges faced by the Haitian book industry by taking copyright practices into account;
- consulted with range of artists, writers, editors, printers, librarians, book fair organizers, main civil society representatives active in the culture sector as well as sponsors from the private and the financial sectors
- visited book production and distribution sites
During their second country mission, the experts:
- completed field research and focused on the drafting of the sectoral strategies.
- included all the relevant stakeholders throughout this process, by first sharing with them their diagnostic work and possible lines of approach before working together on the drafting process.
- participated in the first Haitian forum on copyright issues, organized in partnership with WIPO and enjoying the participation of the Head of the Haitian State.