International Cultural Agreements and South Africa's contribution to preferential treatment in Africa
The main objectives of our cultural agreements are:
- To promote and showcase South African arts, culture and heritage to international fora and audiences.
- To provide a platform for market access of cultural goods and services.
- To exchange expertise, through technical exchange programmes.
- To promote South-South and North-South cooperation.
- To support the mobility of artists.
- To strengthen the national, regional and global regulatory framework.
South Africa, through the National Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), contributes to the Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development Programme (PCRDP), by providing preferential treatment to countries coming out of conflict/war as part of our international cultural agreements which is also aimed at implementing the 2005 Convention. The PCRDP is a long-term continental strategic framework meant to guide and direct the preparation and implementation of social and humanitarian capacity building actions in the continent. The programme targets the development of human resources, improving institutional work environment, to enhance capacity of identified institutions in order to render them more efficient, effective, transparent and accountable. In line with this, South Africa, together with its counterparts in the continent have identified strategic areas in archives, libraries, heritage and languages to develop the necessary skills in capacity building and human resources through skills development and transfer.
South Africa, through its cultural cooperation agreements, enters into a Programme of Cooperation (PoC) to jointly implement its cultural agreements. SA signs Co-production Treaties to facilitate film cooperation and Memorandums of Understanding to implement various projects. Examples are:
- SA signed a targeted language cooperation agreement with Belgium and the Netherlands to develop language awareness and develop human language technologies.
- Cultural agreements were entered into with the Arab region and countries and SA hosted the Arab Cultural week with nineteen Arab-region countries, thereby celebrating and bringing the diversity and richness of middle- east cultures to South African audiences.
- Bilateral cooperation agreement were signed with France and SA–French Seasons was hosted in 2012/13. This provided an opportunity to promote our cultural diversity between the two countries. It also provided an opportunity to showcase other areas of cooperation in economics, technology, tourism, innovation and education, sharing knowledge and skills.
Challenges identified in the implementation of this measure:
The following challenges have been identified in the implementation of our agreements:
- Lack of and limited financial resources to implement all the agreements and take up all the opportunities.
- Political instability in some of the countries we have bilateral cultural agreements with, delaying implementation.
- Lack of reciprocity to implement projects identified under the agreements due to various factors, i.e. political, financial, capacity, etc.
- Need for the development of a comprehensive and coherent cultural diplomacy strategy to drive the international arts, culture and heritage mandate
. Ensuring that the value of culture both as a driver and enabler of sustainable growth and development be consistently recognised, while not disregarding the intrinsic value of culture.