Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, has shown a growing commitment to its cultural and creative industries. To strengthen this effort, the country has partnered with UNESCO for the project “Reshaping Cultural Policies for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” funded by Sweden. At the heart of the project is a cultural policy monitoring with an active participation of civil society actors and an assessment of culture’s role on sustainable development.
Recent cultural governance efforts in Mauritius include a White Paper on Arts and Culture entitled Creative Mauritius– Vision 2025, which recognises the potential of the culture and creative industries to boost the economy and create jobs in a sustainable manner. A National Arts Fund was recently set up with the aim to nurture new talents, reinforce the creative value chain, and research the contribution of the arts to society. The Fund has established four grants: the Emerging Talents Grant, the Production Grant, the Capacity-building Grant and the Research Grant.
Additionally, a draft legislation on the Status of the Artist has been developed in consultation with multiple ministries, non-governmental actors and cultural workers. This activity was supported by UNESCO-Aschberg programme for Artists and Cultural Professionals, which promotes artistic freedom and enhanced artists’ rights in society.
The participatory monitoring of cultural policies, which will lead to the submission of Mauritius’ first Quadrennial Periodic Report, presents a timely opportunity for the country to review its cultural policies and innovative practices, as well as to start a dialogue between government entities and civil society.
A three day training workshop was organized by UNESCO and the Ministry of Arts and Culture for participants from the national team and key stakeholders in order to present the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, promote the participatory policy monitoring process, and introduce the form to be filled out for the quadrennial periodic report (QPR), an obligatory report submitted by Parties to UNESCO’s 2005 Convention every four years.
Mauritius’ QPR will provide a state of the art of the implementation of the 2005 Convention’s Goals and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by both national authorities and civil society organisations, as well as recommendations for future policy action to address the challenges and priorities identified by the National team.
Over 50 cultural policymakers from the Ministry of Art and Culture, creative workers, artists, civil society and media participated in the three-day training and awareness-raising workshop, led by Prof. Vesna Copic from UNESCO’s Expert Facility together with Dr Hans Lallah Ramduth, a national expert, both of whom were engaged by UNESCO to lead the national team in elaborating Mauritius first national periodic report in a participatory manner.
“In these challenging times, the 2005 Convention and the 1980 Recommendation will provide us with the necessary tools to keep the cultural and creative industries afloat”, said H.E. Mr. Avinash Teeluck, Minister of Arts and Cultural Heritage of Mauritius, who opened the regional ResiliArt debate on 28 July 2020, co-organized by UNESCO Field Offices across the region as well as the African Union Commission. He added: “It is high time for each African nation to help artists and creative workers continue to engage in the process of creativity without having to take on other jobs to support their living”.
ResiliArt: Status of the Artist gathered leaders in the arts and culture across Africa. Angela Martins, Head for Culture at African Union Commission, shared three instruments that reinforce support for artists: the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance, AU Agenda 2063, and AU Plan of Action on Cultural Renaissance. Martins called for “better collaboration between the arts, cultural and heritage sector and policy and decision makers in the Member States” in order to usher in an era of African development that capitalizes on creative talents across Africa. The topic of artistic freedom was also addressed by the panellists as well as members of the audience who participated actively through the chat function. “Across the continent, there are still legislations that limit artistic freedom. We must not limit creativity. We must not limit the imagination of artists,” said Kimani Njogu, Creative Economy Group in Kenya.
In order to support the Ministry of Arts and Cultural Heritage of Mauritius in their effort to develop cultural information systems, a regional peer-to-peer exchange with Kenya and Zimbabwe was organized on 15 September 2021 by the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa in partnership with the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. The meeting aimed to share guidance from the 2005 Convention, the 2009 Framework for Cultural Statistics, and the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators, while also sharing experiences and lessons learned from Kenya and Zimbabwe, two countries which are already engaged in the process of collecting data and building cultural indicators.
The hybrid meeting united 26 participants, including 12 representatives from the Ministry of Arts and Cultural Heritage of Mauritius and the National Statistics Office together with representatives from the Zimbabwe Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, the Kenyan National Commission for UNESCO, the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, UNESCO Field Offices in the Africa region and the 2005 Convention Secretariat.
More information here.
Mauritius participated to a series of hybrid workshops (physical and online) on media diversity and cultural pluralism organized by the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa and involving national stakeholders from three other countries in the region (Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda).
The national team, coordinated by the national focal point for the 2005 Convention, included media and cultural stakeholders, national experts and government officers. The training provided a platform to build capacities on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and to discuss policies and measures needed to support media diversity and its content across countries in Eastern Africa. It emphasized the strategic role the media play for the implementation of Convention by encouraging the production of diverse cultural content and by promoting access to cultural content .
The workshop was the opportunity to exchange between peers at the national and regional levels on challenges and strategies to reinforce the role of media in the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions and to strengthen the network of media and cultural stakeholders in Eastern Africa.
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