Viet Nam: towards good governance for culture

UNESCO, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST), launched the 2018 Global Report “Re|Shaping Cultural Policies” in Hanoi, Vietnam on 23 May. The event, gathering representatives from public, cultural and media institutions, highlighted the most recent policy efforts at the national and international levels to promote and protect the diversity of cultural expressions.

Cultural policies embrace a wide range of areas. These include, amongst others, freedom of expression, media diversity, gender equality, trade, the digital environment, and mobility. As such, holistic frameworks are needed, involving inter-ministerial cooperation, to address all components of the cultural ecosystem.

Against this backdrop, Viet Nam developed its first “National Strategy for the Development of the Cultural Industries by 2020, with a vision to 2030”, recognizing all the conditions needed for cultural expressions to develop. The strategy addresses five thematic areas: creative education and skills, governance, investment and regulation, audience and market development, clustering and networking and international positioning.

In tandem, the country’s growing middle class has become ever more interested in enjoying creative and cultural products emerging from the nation’s vibrant fashion, music, and film industries. This burgeoning national market coupled with a large export potential, represents a powerful opportunity for cultural and creative industries (CCIs).

From local to global monitoring

The launch event was opened by Mr. Vuong Duy Bien, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, H.E. Pereric Högberg, Ambassador of Sweden, and Mr. Michael Croft, Director of UNESCO Office Hanoi.

“UNESCO's mandate to promote the free flow of ideas is more relevant than ever. Freedom of expression is a basic human right, and a fundamental part of democratic societies,” underlined H.E. Pereric Högberg. “The 2005 convention plays a crucial part here and the global report provides us with a necessary knowledge base to further develop cultural policies for the future,” he added.

“Viet Nam is committed to the vision set by the 2005 Convention,” said Mr. Vuong Duy Bien

Part of the debate focused on the need to enhance the networking capability of relevant stakeholders in the creative sector. Ms. Nguyễn Phương Hòa, Vice-Director of the International Cooperation at MCST, noted the important role that Cultural and Creative Hubs (CCHs) play in this regard. In Viet Nam, CCHS are places, physical or virtual, which brings people together to express artistic ideas and creativity in a free and open environment. Most recently, the British Council has partnered with the Viet Nam National Institute of Arts and Culture Studies (VICAS) in a project to develop and empower CCHs.

The event provided the opportunity to also present and discuss Viet Nam’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.

“The 2005 Convention has been an important source of inspiration in the recent positive changes in the governance of culture in Viet Nam,” noted Mr. Bui Hoai Son, Director of VICAS.

Viet Nam’s 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