Periodic Report Bulgaria

Executive summary

In the implementation of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the Ministry of Culture develops its policies on the basis of the shared understanding that cultural diversity is stimulated by the free exchange of ideas and interaction between cultures.

The policy of the Ministry is aimed at encouraging creativity, artists and all people working in the field of culture, which has a positive effect on the renovation of forms of cultural expression. A key principle of the country’s cultural policy is guaranteeing human rights and fundamental freedoms, expressed by access to information, communication, free choice of forms of cultural expression. The fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria and they found an expression in the legislation in the field of culture. In this sense, the policies of the Ministry of Culture are devoted to the principles of equal merit and respect for all cultures; equal access to cultural heritage and to the diversity of forms of cultural expression, protection of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. A key principle of the policies of the Ministry of Culture is that of sustainable development, and more specifically the understanding that the preservation, encouragement and maintenance of cultural diversity are a major precondition for sustainable development to the benefit of the present and future generations. Special protection is provided to traditional forms of cultural expression, including language diversity, as an important condition for the exchange of ideas and values between people and communities (Cultural Development Act, Cultural Heritage Act). In its legislation the Republic of Bulgaria guarantees the right of people from various ethnic communities to disseminate and convey their traditional forms of cultural expression, as well as to have free access to them in order to use them for their own development (Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, Protection and Development of Culture Act). In addition to improving legislation towards achieving the goals of the Convention, the Ministry of Culture develops the respective policies, measures and programs to encourage creativity among individuals and social groups, for increasing citizens’ awareness of the diversity of forms of cultural expression. The Ministry’s programs are aimed at expanding opportunities for development of cultural activities on the local, regional, national and international level, providing equal access to resources for the production, distribution and exchange of cultural products and services. Among others, the measures include granting specific financial aid for specialized institutions so that they are encouraged to participate in the creation of diverse forms of cultural expression.

The achievements of the Ministry of Culture include the cooperation established with NGOs, public and private institutions, artists and other professionals in the field of arts and culture to solve problems, develop adequate policies and measures encouraging creativity and entrepreneurship in the sphere of culture. A great challenge and achievement is the cooperation created between the various ministries to apply the integrated approach to the strategic planning of measures for sustainable development of society. Thus, culture became an important, integral part of national plans to overcome demographic problems, to decrease poverty, to guarantee social inclusion, regional development, development of youth policies, in terms of the national concept of active living of the elderly, which is an acknowledgement that the abundance of forms of cultural expression contributes to the achievement of these goals, which are also included in the millennium development goals. This model is applied in the draft 2020 National Development Program (NDP) of the Republic of Bulgaria, which comprises only measures guaranteeing development in the years to come. Considering that the Program is being developed in times of crisis, the place culture has found in it is indicative of the potential of this field among the general measures for influencing the welfare of people. In compliance with the 2020 NDP of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Ministry of Culture develops the 2020 National Strategy for Development of Bulgarian Culture and Arts. The strategic vision of the development of culture will be in line with the purposes of the present Convention.