Ethiopia, Jamaica, Namibia, Palestine and Panama to strengthen creative industries through EU/UNESCO Expert Facility

Today, the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) employ nearly 30 million people worldwide, and increasingly contribute to the economic growth and development of their societies. Recognizing the positive impact and opportunities offered by CCIs, governments around the world are increasing support for creative sectors through improved cultural policies and mechanisms. As part of the EU/UNESCO initiative “Support for new regulatory frameworks to strengthen the cultural and creative industries and promote South-South cooperation”, the EU/UNESCO Steering Committee approved new applications from Ethiopia, Jamaica, Namibia, Palestine and Panama. They are joining seven countries that have been approved in 2019 and already started activities – Costa Rica, Gabon, Georgia, Mexico, South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe – as partners. The project assists the development and enforcement of regulatory frameworks for the creative sectors in developing countries. Projects will also be adapted to take into consideration the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and post-crisis reorganization, by offering tools and expertise to beneficiary countries to quickly undertake restructuring actions and reforms.

Ethiopia: Developing sound institutional and structural frameworks for the film industry

Over the past few years, Ethiopia’s film sector has grown steadily; it is estimated that in 2018 alone, 57 feature films were produced in the country. Consequently, the film industry has been identified as a strategic sector capable of playing a meaningful role in the promotion of democracy, peace and unity. Considering the film industry’s multi-sectoral contributions to Ethiopia’s development, the Ethiopian government is especially eager to strengthen the sector’s economic contributions and significance.

To achieve this vision, Ethiopia has adopted its film policy in 2017, with a special focus on job creation for the youth as well as gender equality. The implementation of this policy, however, has not started due to a lack of frameworks to carry out the envisaged measures. The EU/UNESCO project assists Ethiopia in designing a structural and institutional framework to enable the country to kick off the implementation of its film policy. The project will also put emphasis on the need to strengthen copyright protection and enforcement mechanisms.  

Jamaica: Elaborating a Creative Economy Act to streamline policies and the administration of CCIs

Jamaica’s culture and creativity have enabled national artists to gain avid audiences worldwide. Jamaica’s CCIs are some of the most distinguishable in the world, contributing an estimated 5.2% to the country’s GDP, generating revenues of 15 to 20 million USD annually, and accounting for 3% of total employment.

The Jamaican government recognizes the potential of this sector, and is committed to further boost its growth through effective cultural governance. The project assists Jamaica in elaborating a Creative Economy Act to streamline cultural policies and the administration of CCIs, bringing together diverse CCI actors across various ministries, civil society and the private sector. The project will also support strengthening copyright enforcement mechanisms.

Namibia: Enforcing local content production and copyright protection

Harnessing the potential of creative industries for the country’s social development and economic growth is one of Namibia’s development priorities. The objective is to promote and protect Namibian creatives by empowering them and creating an enabling environment for them to become a major driver in the country’s economy.

The project assists Namibia in devising a measure to support local content production and in revising copyright legislation to meet the new challenges linked to the digital environment.

Palestine: Designing a roadmap for the creation of a film institute

In the last 10 years, Palestinian films have achieved significant success and recognition in major international venues, evidenced by Palestine’s first-ever official pavilion at the Cannes Festival in 2018. While the country has never lacked talented filmmakers or stories to tell, it is in dire need of a stronger legal environment to help the national film industry develop and thrive.

The project assists Palestine in developing the necessary legal framework to pave the way for the establishment of a film institute. The institute is envisaged to manage and support the national film industry through funding as well as preservation and promotion of film productions. Special focus will be given on copyright protection, freedom of expression, and the empowerment of women and girls, both behind and in front of the camera.

Panama: Designing measures to establish a participatory and transparent system of governance for culture

Panama has recently strengthened its commitment to culture by creating a dedicated ministry in 2019. The new Ministry of Culture has been established as part of the government’s plan to reduce inequality by developing and fulfilling cultural rights in Panama. The creation of this new authority also comes with new challenges: the need to create a strong institutional landscape to enable the Panamanian government to harness the potential of CCIs to help achieve the 2030 UN sustainable development agenda.

The EU/UNESCO project assists Panama in designing measures to develop a consultation body for the Ministry of Culture. The body will be responsible for culture programmes and funding to be made available under the “Create in Panama 2030”, a much-awaited strategic national programme for creative economy which is part of Panama’s vision of sustainable development. The project will also support Panama in conceptualizing a participatory and transparent system of governance for culture, including copyright-related issues.

On-demand call for assistance

The EU/UNESCO initiative provides on-demand provision of expertise and peer-to-peer learning support to selected developing countries from around the world, laying a solid groundwork for dynamic CCIs. With the approval of five additional countries, the project has now completed its present phase by already selecting 12 beneficiary countries, and the selection of new countries is dependent on future budget availability. To consult all updates regarding this EU/UNESCO Expert Facility initiative, please consult its dedicated webpage here.