Civil Society and the Convention

For the purpose of the Convention, civil society means non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, professionals in the culture sector and associated sectors, groups that support the work of artists and cultural communities (Operational Guidelines, Article 11).

Civil society actors have played a key role leading to the adoption of the Convention and are now actively engaged in promoting its ratification and implementation worldwide.

Civil society organizations can bring citizens’ concerns to public authorities, monitor policy and programme implementation, play a watchdog role, as well as contribute to the achievement of greater transparency and accountability in the governance of culture.

Examples of the roles and responsibilities of civil society as outlined in the Operational Guidelines are:

  • Participate in session of the Convention’s governing bodies (the Conference of Parties and the Intergovernmental Committee);
  • Encourage, support and follow up the ratification of the Convention by non Parties;
  • Raise visibility of the Convention by: organizing seminars, workshops and forums at every level; developing and publishing information tools to facilitate understanding of the Convention; disseminating information to stakeholders through national media, websites and newsletters;
  • Participate in the preparation of quadrennial periodic reports by Parties;
  • Develop and submit projects to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity. Non-governmental organizations from developing countries that are Parties to the Convention, which meet the definition of civil society1, are eligible to apply;
  • Conduct needs assessment on the application of preferential treatment in national frameworks and programmes and identify any difficulties on the implementation of Article 16;
  • Provide information on visa requests of artists and other cultural professionals and practitioners from developing countries;
  • Join international networks to share information and data;
  • Identify examples of development policies and measures;
  • Participate in consultations with public authorities on the development of cultural policies and measures to implement Article 6 and Article 7 of the 2005 Convention.

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