Regional initiatives towards the promotion and the implementation of the 2005 Convention
At a regional level – in Spain this would refer to the Autonomous Communities - there are multiple initiatives. By being closer to the public, these mainly concern funding applications. The Communities have been provided with a survey, and nine have replied (out of 17), along with the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
Apart from one Community (Extremadura), all are familiar with the Convention. As well as further questions on policy, measures and other points which follow the format of the four-year report, the survey involved a barrage of questions regarding the form in which policies or measures are directed at upholding and promoting diversity in cultural expressions in any of the following ways: a) encouraging the diversity of cultural expressions in the creative field; b) encouraging diversity in the production of cultural goods or services; c) promoting public access to a wide range of cultural expressions; d) providing support for specific social groups (women, the young, minorities, immigrants, etc) as creators, producers or distributors of cultural expressions; and e), promoting the diversity of cultural expressions in the stages of creation, production, distribution and access. Apart from the Community which was not familiar with the Convention, 100% of the others replied in the affirmative to all of the above other than d), to which two Communities replied in the negative.
The most active has, without doubt, been Catalonia, which has even participated as an observer in meetings on cultural diversity. As well as those actions which can fit in perfectly with the objectives and principles of the Convention without actually referring to it directly, in its session of 25 March 2009, the Catalan Parliament’s Cultural Policy Commission adopted Resolution 440/VIII, which urged the Catalan Government to promote the application of the Convention. Following this request, the Catalan Department of Culture has encouraged initiatives that disseminate the Convention:
- Translation of the 2005 Convention and publication of Catalan and Aragonese versions.
- Public presentation, in Barcelona, of the Convention organised by the Regional Minister of Culture the day after it came into effect (19 March 2007).
- Active participation in the International Expert Meeting (EGM) on the statistical measurement of the diversity of cultural expressions, with a representative from the Catalan Department of Culture. The first forum was held in Montreal (September 2007) and the second in Barcelona (December 2008). The latter was joint-organised by the Catalan Department of Culture and the UNESCO Institute of Statistics.
- Translation into Catalan of the UNESCO Executive Report on cultural diversity and its public presentation (10 May 2010).
Across all the other Communities there are multiple policies and programmes aimed at encouraging cultural diversity. The Canary Islands’ Culture Plan (a strategic document on cultural action in the Community of the Canary Islands) is prominent here in quoting Article 5 of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on cultural diversity, a concept which, furthermore, permeates the whole Plan.
The Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla also stand out favourably, which while being very small in comparative terms, carry out a range of activities, somewhat logically given their multicultural, border nature. Some of these are in collaboration with the Kingdom of Morocco.
Another example is the Community of Andalusia, which has a project called the Intercultural Libraries in Andalusia Project within the framework of the Integral Plan for Immigration. This has a two-fold objective: to provide and ensure access on the part of the immigrant population and ethnic and linguistic minorities to public libraries, facilitating materials and services that are appropriate to their needs, while on the other hand encouraging favourable attitudes within Andalusian society to receiving and socially integrating the immigrant population, attempting to prevent and, the case being redress, possible xenophobic and racist behaviour. Another of its programmes is the Diverse Spaces film showcase, whose aim is to bring attention to the cinematic works of the countries of origin of the main immigrant groups of Andalusia, raising the profile of these communities and encouraging their integration. It has been held four times.
The Autonomous Communities with their own languages are strengthening attempts to raise their authors’ international profiles, with numerous promotional programmes and funding for translation.