Investing ODA for culture: the UNESCO/Korean Fund-In-Trust
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The creative economy is now a major driver of sustainable development, particularly in developing countries. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea has recognized this potential and culture has been integrated in its overall official development assistance budget.
Within this framework, through the Korea-UNESCO Fund-in-Trust (KFIT), the Republic of Korea has committed extra-budgetary funding to the Secretariat of the 2005 Convention to support the development of cultural and creative industries in developing countries around the world.
Under this longstanding partnership launched in 2007, UNESCO/KFIT projects have supported the building skills of cultural professionals, the creation of networks and the establishment of informed and participatory policy design processes. In Uganda and Uzbekistan, for example, cultural professionals have gained practical skills in design and marketing as well as in business and management, which gave them greater access to markets, distribution networks and international cooperation mechanisms. Through its projects in Lao PDR, Viet Nam and Mongolia, UNESCO-KFIT has strengthened opportunities for civil society to collaborate and form partnerships, including through the creation of physical and online creative hubs. Such opportunities have also supported information sharing and knowledge transfer amongst cultural actors.
UNESCO/KFIT project included the creation in 2018 of a professional “community of practice” composed of mid-career specialists from Asia-Pacific region. This network is expected to work closely with UNESCO to provide regular advice, technical assistance and capacity building to support the promotion and the implementation of the 2005 Convention objectives in the region. It is also working to ensure that the implementation of cultural policies is monitored to help countries assess the state of their creative sectors, evaluate goals and identify priority areas for future action.
By acknowledging the strategic dimension of culture in its development cooperation strategy, the Republic of Korea contributes to the implementation of Goal 3 of the Convention. The UNESCO-Republic of Korea partnership promotes development-oriented policies that support creativity and innovation (Target 8.3), ensure inclusive and representative decision-making at all levels (Target 16.7) and enhances the coherence of cultural policies for sustainable development through targeted capacity-building (Targets 17.4 and 17.9).
The objective of the project is to establish a cooperative system with UNESCO
First, it sets an agenda of global significance in cooperation with international organizations, including UNESCO. Second, it supports the UNESCO Trust Fund to contribute to the development of culture and creative industries of developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region such as Pakistan and Bangladesh. Third, by supporting the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in Korea, it shares the experience of member cities in Korea and promotes cultural diversity.
The project will help expand the scope of cultural exchange to embrace developing countries, thereby building a partnership for mutual exchanges on equal footing. It will also contribute to cultural development of developing countries by implementing cultural ODA projects based on local demand, while expanding Korea’s role in the international community. Finally, it will boost the country’s image and set a foundation for sustainable cultural exchange.
430,618 dollar (as of 2016)
The project was evaluated in terms of policy implementation rate, policy effects, policy feedback – collection of the opinions on site and responses to them. As the project was implemented as planned, it scored high on the rate of implementation. As regards policy effectiveness, the project raised awareness among people involved in cultural and creative industries of developing countries, and it also contributed to spreading cultural diversity as a meaningful global agenda. It also received high marks on policy feedback, as the cultural ODA projects were subject to constant input from the participants at every stage of orientation, interim review and final evaluation.