Cambodia: binding culture and economic development

UNESCO, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA), launched the Khmer version of the 2018 Global Report “Re|Shaping Cultural Policies” summary in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 28 June. The event, gathering representatives from the government and civil society, highlighted the economic potential of cultural and creative industries (CCIs) nationally and internationally

CCIs are an emerging priority topic in Cambodia. Drawing upon UNESCO’s technical assistance missions (2012-2014), Cambodia adopted its first national cultural policy in December 2014 recognizing the role of culture in national economic development, notably through the objective “to create new cultural products, especially in the creative industry sector”.

In tandem, UNESCO’s project on culture for development indicators (CDIS) has contributed to heightening the awareness about the economic potential of CCIs. In Cambodia, culture is already non-negligible contributor to the national formal economy representing 1.53% of total GDP in 2011. Worldwide, CCIs generate annual revenues of US$2.250 billion and global exports of over US$250 billion. 

Thriving creative environment

The launch event of the Report, which gathered over 70 participants, was opened by Ms. Anne Lemaistre, Director of UNESCO Phnom Penh Office and H.E. Mr. Samraing Kamsan, Secretary of State, High Representative of the MoCFA.

“The cultural and creative industries currently provide nearly 30 million jobs worldwide and employ more people aged 15−29 than any other sector. It is therefore our collective responsibility to participate in building stronger and more effective policies to support the flourishing of these industries,” said Ms. Anne Lemaistre. “We hope that all stakeholders will be able to use the Global Report as policy tool to reach this aim,” she added

“The Global Report 2018 will encourage Cambodia to strengthen the implementation of its National Policy for Culture,” declared H.E. Mr. Samraing Kamsan

Part of the debate focused on building a thriving environment for artists to create and show their work as well as engaging policymakers and private sectors to see the economic value of CCIs.

The event provided the opportunity to also present and discuss Cambodia’s latest Quadrennial Periodic Report (QPR). Every four years countries that have ratified the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions commit to submit a report on the ways the Convention has been implemented at the country-level.

Discussions focused on the need for more training on data collection as well as strengthening inter-ministerial and multi-stakeholder cooperation in view of submitting the next QPR in 2020.

Cambodia latest QPR was submitted with the support of UNESCO in the framework of the project “Enhancing fundamental freedoms through the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions”.