Culture Concept of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Adopted by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on 14 February 2014, the “Culture Concept of the Republic of Azerbaijan” has been developed to streamline with European cultural policy principles and aims to ensure the development of Azerbaijani culture, enhancement of cultural policies, strengthening its resilience against internal and external threats, ensuring the successful integration into the world culture, protection of human and civil rights and freedoms in the field of culture.
The Culture Concept attempts to develop the mechanisms of guaranteeing development of all aspects of culture, including cultural policies, such as governance, legal, financial, information, human resources, material and technical infrastructure and international cooperation, high level of cultural awareness and reform of cultural heritage management mechanisms. The main policy objectives comprise the adjustment of culture policy mechanisms to actual requirements and reality of this area: 1) protection of cultural heritage, 2) support and development of creative activity with the focus on the integrity of the people, 3) promotion of identity and diversity, and participation in cultural life. Cultural policy objectives of the Concept are implemented using the following mechanisms: 1) development of legal guarantees, 2) implementation of modern methods in culture and arts administration, 3) diversification of financing sources, 4) enhancement of information provision, 5) human resources development, 6) modernization of the material and technical bases, and 6) development of international cooperation.
The Culture Concept of the Republic of Azerbaijan thus aimed to propose a new functional management model for the field of culture. The Concept created a road map and an administrative reform plan, which later shaped and continues to shape the enabling environment for its implementation.
The Culture Concept of the Republic of Azerbaijan made an attempt to present a holistic and encompassing approach to culture and cultural policies, based on current priorities and past experiences in implementing culture, heritage and creativity-related policies. It formulated a number of key cultural policy principles in Azerbaijan, such as equality, democracy, humanism, integration, balance, quality, efficiency, as well as talent factor.
It dedicates a whole chapter (4) to the so-called “Development of the professional art”, which includes the development of professional theatre art, music art, as well as fine and decorative-applied arts.
Chapter 5 presents the vision of the development of cultural industries. It states that cultural industries, as an area of activity that allows for production and realization of cultural products and services, is one of the key fields of cultural policies in Azerbaijan. One of the aims of cultural policies is to ensure the balance between culture industries and market of cultural products and services. The Chapter therefore states that the development of future oriented cultural industries, such areas as cinematography and publishing, drawing and based on historical traditions, is and will continue to be one of the promising directions of the state cultural policy.
The Concept is implemented through state programs on cultural activities, which are presented for the endorsement by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The implementation of the Concept implies the involvement of local authorities, cultural institutions and civil society organizations in this process along with the activities of state bodies in this area, as well as foreign and local investors. The Concept is implemented through state budget allocations, as well as via alternative financing mechanisms. The Concept is coordinated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The full text of the Culture Concept is available in Azerbaijani at the following address: http://www.e-qanun.az/framework/27056
The Culture Concept was conceived to establish a wide and encompassing cultural policy framework, through which all the legal, institutional and financial efforts in the field of culture could be further channeled at local and national levels. Since its adoption in 2014, the Concept resulted in greater awareness of different stakeholders working in the field of culture of the integrity and multidimensional nature of culture, creativity and cultural industries, as well as enabled to bring the provisions of the 2005 Convention to the context of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It further put upfront the particular attention of the Government to a number of areas of cultural industries where further support was needed to enable their contribution to creative economy, such as film making and distribution as well as publishing.
It also reiterated again the difficulties the culture sector in Azerbaijan has been facing in the context of the occupation by Armenia of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan, as a result of which creators, artists, cultural workers and communities still do not have access to cultural institutions, including 927 libraries, 807 cultural palaces, club and culture houses, 85 music and painting schools, 22 museums and museums’ branch offices, 4 art galleries, 13 monuments of international significance, 242 monuments of national significance, as well as 434 historical and cultural monuments of local significance. A large number of artists coming from refugee communities who had to leave their homes because of the Armenian occupation now continue to associate and reflect in their creative works their homeland. The Culture Concept in that sense provided political recognition of the specific needs of the artists and creators coming from among refugees, while ensuring policy priority to this specific group of creators.
36 000 USD per year