Reshaping Cultural Policies for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Uganda
The cultural and creative industries are fast becoming a major job provider in Uganda especially among younger generations. This ethnically diverse country in East Africa also recognizes the central role arts and culture can play in promoting social cohesion. Uganda Vision 2040, the country’s development plan, refers to the growing importance of the creative sector. The Second National Development Plan, which supports the realization of this Vision, acknowledges the sector’s potential in job creation and labour productivity (objective 1). The promotion of culture for economic development and social transformation, supported by a stronger cultural policy framework, is also emphasised: through its uniting power, creativity can empower communities to participate in country’s development process (objective 2). Latest notable policy developments in Uganda is the 2019 National Intellectual Property Policy. It complements the 2006 National Culture Policy, which serves as a roadmap to a culturally vibrant, cohesive and progressive nation. Multiple analysis of the industries and its workers have identified gaps: ensuring access to cultural content and digital technologies in rural areas, strengthening institutional capacities and data collection, and supporting trade and investments in cultural goods are some areas of future interventions. Partnering with UNESCO as part of the project “Reshaping Cultural Policies for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions”, funded by Sweden, Uganda will form a community of practice between stakeholders involved in the culture and creative sector, and put participation at the heart of each step. In preparation of its first Quadrennial Periodic Report on the implementation of the 2005 Convention, Uganda will identify achievements, challenges and relevant data.
A multi-stakeholder consultation was organised on 31 October 2019 in Kampala, Uganda, gathering around 90 participants from government, civil society actors and artists. The consultation was the opportunity to officially launch the quadrennial periodic report process, to increase understanding amongst stakeholders about how the Convention’s basic principles and concepts of fundamental freedoms and diversity of cultural expressions can be translated into legislation, policies and programmes and to kick-start an open dialogue between government and civil society actors for the elaboration of periodic reports.
Following the consultation, a Create 2030 Talk was held on “Trade in Cultural Goods and Services Regionally and Internationally”. The debate was moderated by Ayeta Anne Wangusa, member of the UNESCO Expert Facility and panellists included representatives from the Uganda Revenue Authority, the Bayimba Cultural Foundation, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. Discussions revolved around the recognition of the creative and cultural industries as key contributors to GDP and job creation, the need for cooperation to increase the mobility of artists and to include cultural and creative industries data and information in the National Statistical System.
A national training workshop for the multi-stakeholder national team was organised from 28 to 30 October 2019 in Kampala, Uganda, organised by the UNESCO Office in Nairobi and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. Facilitated by David Waweru and Ayeta Wangusa, members of the UNESCO Expert Facility, in collaboration with the national expert, Amos Tindyebwa, the training was designed to build capacities of the national team on participatory policy monitoring.
The workshop helped the participants to recognize the role of the 2005 Convention in the creative economy, how the Convention’s Monitoring Framework guides the collection of data and information and informs policy decisions as well as how to collect data and identify relevant information on policies and measures to be reported in Uganda’s periodic report. A drafting committee composed of members of the national team was also appointed and tasked with coordinating collection of data and drafting for one of the 11 areas of monitoring of the Convention.
An online meeting was convened on 26 June 2020, gathering more than 15 members of the national team and the international and national experts in order to gather their feedback on the final draft of the periodic report and to prepare for the public presentation. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development held a virtual public presentation on 9 July 2020. It brought together more than 20 stakeholders, including representatives from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ugandan National Commission for UNESCO, Makerere University of Uganda, British Council, Uganda Copyrights Society, Uganda Performing Rights Society, Uganda Association of Libraries, Uganda Film Federation, Bayimba Foundation, Cross Culture Foundation of Uganda and many others. The presentation highlighted the measures and policies captured under each of the areas of monitoring. The participants were able to engage in a discussion on the first periodic report of Uganda and submit comments and inputs, notably on statistics and transversal issues.
A series of six ResiliArt debates were held in Uganda, organised by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, on 16, 23, 30 April 2020 and 7, 14, 21 May 2020. The pandemic has had an adverse effect on the creative sector, which operates informally with limited Government regulation and support. Those debates presented a unique opportunity for Government and stakeholders to discuss the main priorities of action to respond to the Covid-19 crisis.
Participants notably expressed the need for artists to be organised and registered through a digital database, such as Culture Management Information systems. The implementation of the copyright law is insufficient and piracy remains a significant barrier to the creative industry. This has been worsened by the Covid-19 crisis and the Uganda Registration Service Bureau needs to be updated to include digital registration. One viewer commented that “many people in the art industry do not live to enjoy the fruits of their labour due to the inactive copyright laws. Let Government start from there because this industry employs a large portion of Ugandans”.
The digital divide and expensive prices of internet data in the country were also pointed out as a major challenge for artists and cultural professionals to continue working and disseminating their work in this time of crisis, paying particular attention to rural areas. Information flow between all stakeholders is inadequate, creating a lack of awareness on what has been done and what is planned. There is a need for an information portal on which all interventions by both Government and other stakeholders can be shared to raise awareness.
Uganda 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 (Mauritius, Tanzania and Ethiopia).
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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On 17 May 2022, the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development in Uganda hosted a national launch of the 2022 Global Report, “ReIShaping Policies for Creativity”, in Kampala in cooperation with the UNESCO Regional office for Eastern Africa. The event gathered 78 participants, from government officers, academic, media and civil society organization. This event included a presentation on the QPR achievements by the national focal point of Uganda, a presentation of the Global Report by the representative of the UNESCO office for Eastern Africa and an exchange session that addressed the need for more robust data and mapping of cultural professionals, the dissemination and uptake of this report.
This event combined by a virtual training session on the International Fund for Cultural Diversity and its call for projects dedicated to civil society and government actors, in order to encourage the submission of projects in support of the cultural and creative sectors in Uganda. Following the launch, a series of local workshops took place in Kampala and in the 4 main regions (Nakasongola, Pakwach, Soroti and Kwegegwa) to discuss and raise awareness on the 2005 Convention and the results of the QPR of Uganda among local CCIs stakeholders.
Read news article here: https://en.unesco.org/news/third-unesco-global-report-creative-industries-launched-uganda