Reshaping Cultural Policies for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is home to prominent creative sectors and artists, and benefits from an avid local audience. The country is a globally renowned platform of contemporary cultural and creative based-research, events and exhibitions. To build on its established culture and creative industries, Bangladesh is embarking to elaborate its second quadrennial periodic report on the implementation of the 2005 Convention. The previous report, submitted in 2013, featured Bangladesh’s 2006 National Cultural Policy, which sets the overall framework for the organization of the culture sector in the country. Bangladesh’s second periodic report presents an opportunity to examine the challenges and successes over the last four years, engaging with civil society, the private sector, and professional associations in a participatory approach.
A national training workshop was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 6 to 7 November 2019, organised by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the UNESCO Office in Dhaka. Mr. Fahimul Islam, joint secretary in charge of culture, who underlined Bangladesh’s commitment to the 2005 Convention and the periodic reporting process, opened the workshop. The training sessions were led by Anupama Sekhar, member of the UNESCO Expert Facility, in collaboration with Mohammed Omer Aiaz, national consultant. The training consisted of presentations on the four goals of the Convention’s monitoring framework as well as in-depth examples of policies and measures from the region. Group work enabled the national team to discuss issues and examples as well as to share information. A first set of policies and measures was identified to be included in the periodic report.
On 7 November 2019, following the national training workshop, a multi-stakeholder consultation was held, gathering representatives from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, civil society organisations, private sector, media and various ministries and public institutions. The consultation was the occasion to organise a cross-sectoral networking session amongst participants to share information and build a community of practice, which sparked appreciation for best practices as well as for common challenges. Representatives from civil society organisations and the private sector were invited to present their work and to formulate recommendations for their respective sector. Five presentations were made from the following sectors: community radio, contemporary music, photography education, digital infrastructure, and fashion design. The consultation ended with an open discussion.
The UNESCO office in Dhaka organized a series of four Creative cafés #Resiliart Webinars in 2020 to address the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the cultural and creative sectors, gathering artists and cultural professionals.
The first , hosted on the occasion of the World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 2020 addressed cultural professionals’ livelihood during and after COVID-19. The second one, on 11 June 2020, addressed the digital environment for the creative industries. The third one, hosted on the occasion of the International Youth Day on 14 August 2020 focused on youth leadership in education and creative sectors in Bangladesh. The fourth webinar, hosted on 4 September 2020, addressed the government’s initiatives to promote the creative industries and heritage during and after the pandemic.
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh and the UNESCO Office in Dhaka conducted an assessment on the impact of the pandemic on the cultural sector in Bangladesh. The study mobilized various stakeholders of the creative and cultural industries, including more than 200 artists, cultural professionals, representatives of cultural organizations, as well as government representatives, who shared their experiences and observations on the impact of the crisis on the creative and cultural sector in Bangladesh.
The data and information collection effort highlights the current state of creative and cultural industries amidst the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh. It aims to inform and support stakeholders to identify potential solutions, immediate and future responses and mitigation measures to the crisis, notably through a list of recommendations.
On the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 2021, the UNESCO Dhaka Office organized a webinar with key stakeholders to present the study and discuss key recommendations and ways forward.
Link to web news
Link to the full report
Bangladesh hosted a virtual public launch of the Global Report “ReIShaping Policies for Creativity” on 24 May 2022. The event gathered Ms Beatriz Kaldun, Director of the UNESCO Dhaka office, Ms. Christine Johansson, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden, Mr. Fahimul Islam, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Cultural Affair, Anupama Sekhar, co-author of the Global Report and member of the UNESCO Expert Facility, Mr. Omer Aia, actor and national consultant on the QPR, Mr. Joy Shahria, singer, music producer, member of the national team, Ms. Kazi Tanzika Jahan, Programme Officer at the National Commission for UNESCO, and UNESCO project officers. The presentation of the Global Report was followed by a panel discussion on its key messages, the lessons learnt and continuity of the monitoring processes of policies for creativity in Bangladesh, notably on the need for data collection and possible actions to consolidate multistakeholder consultations.
Link to video Recording on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/unescodhaka/videos/1218341618992761
Building on the recommendations raised in the Covid-19 impact assessment on the cultural and creative sectors (2021), the UNESCO office in Dhaka and the University of Dhaka conducted two pilot sectoral mappings finalized in 2022, one addressing the crafts sector and another focusing on the music sector. This research aimed to support the identification of opportunities for developing a strategic framework for future local and regional development as well as awareness raising about the importance of investing in the creative sectors, in favor of Bangladesh’s potential for social and economic growth.
The mappings present an overview of the sectors by including a brief historical context of the sector, mapping of the sectors’ ecosystem and the stakeholder’s capacities, the current policies and practices, an analysis of the economic contribution of the sectors, regional mapping of practices, a mapping of the stakeholders consulted for the data collection and recommendations for each actor of the creative value chain.
Link to the Mapping of the Craft sector in Bangladesh
Link to the Mapping of the Music sector in Bangladesh