Greater civil society participation in Peru will inspire better cultural policies

Diverse faces of Peruvian creative sector gathered on 14 May 2019 in Lima: among two hundred attendees were ministry and public institution representatives, universities and academic centers, civil society organizations and creators. What brought this array of cultural key players was the launch of the 2018 Global Report “Re-Shaping Cultural Policies”, UNESCO’s flagship publication on today’s policies for creativity.

Peru was one of the first countries to sign the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005), making a promise to enhance the flourishing of dynamic Peruvian cultural and creative industries. More than 12 years later, the country has made “considerable progress in implementing policies and measures throughout the cultural value chain, in particular by encouraging digital creation, creative entrepreneurship and accelerating the modernization of cultural sectors,” said Magaly Robalino, a UNESCO Representative in Peru. She especially lauded the country’s foresight to include and continue addressing the digital space in the cultural policies as e-commerce and the Internet transform the value chain.

One way to share Peru’s advances and challenges is through a report that countries that have ratified the Convention submit every four years, commonly known as the Quadrennial Periodic Report (QPR); it is also these reports that the Global Report series draws on to identify global trends and innovative practices. With the next report due in 2020, the Ministry of Culture invited stakeholders at the event to participate in the report making.

"It will inspire us many ideas and questions,” said Guillermo Cortés Carcelén, the Vice Minister of Cultural Heritage and Industries, emphasizing that the QPR is more than just a score sheet – but in fact a “tool to think about what is happening in the world while focusing on the evolution of our own cultural sector.” In order to capture the state of cultural policies today as well as draw up recommendations for future action, the opportunity to contribute to the report “must reach everyone so that we arrive at a clear consensus, resulting in better regulations and policies,” he concluded.

The wealth of information that non-governmental actors possess was on display during a civil-society round table discussion that followed. The participants discussed Peru’s cultural policy progress through three focus areas based on the Convention’s monitoring framework: role of civil society, artistic freedom and gender equality. "When we started in the publishing sector, we had not noticed that only three out of fifteen publishing houses had women legal representatives. Today we have indicators monitoring the participation of different voices, including women, LGTBI people, speakers of native languages," said Silvia María Gonzáles, the president of Independent Publishers of Peru. Ana Sofía Pinedo, founder of the Cultural House Arena and Esteras called the citizens to “move from demand to participation and prominence construction of public policies on culture."

The event, broadcasted on the Ministry of Culture channel "Culture 24,” also marked the kick-off of the project “Reshaping cultural policies for the promotion of fundamental freedoms and the diversity of cultural expressions” (2018-2021) in Peru. Through consultations and trainings, the project, funded by the Swedish government, aims to strengthen Peru’s ability to better promote and monitor the diversity of cultural expressions in Peru. Jonas Montpaz, Representative of the Swedish Embassy in Peru, was present at the event.