Sweden's international cooperation
A cooperation agreement between the Swedish Arts council and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has been signed for 2009–2012. The Swedish Arts Council manages and implements the call for proposal programme Partner Driven Cooperation in the Field of Culture 2011-2013. The programme is funded by Sida. The overall objective is to strengthen cooperation in the field of culture between Sweden and Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, China, India, and Indonesia aimed at contributing to poverty reduction and equitable and sustainable global development. The programme’s objective is to stimulate and strengthen the emergence of self-supporting relationships of mutual interest between Swedish partners and partners in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, China, India, and Indonesia in the field of culture in order to contribute to the overall objective. Funds provided for programme implementation amount to SEK 24 million over a three-year period (2011–2013).
An example of a former cultural development project is the Swedish-South African Culture Partnership Programme (CPP) 2004-2008. Sweden has a history of development cooperation with South Africa which goes back to the support of the democratic forces in South Africa starting in the 1950s. Culture – Development – Partnership were three fundamental pillars of the CPP. The decision to form this programme was taken in February 2004.
A mid-term review conducted after the initial three years stated that 25 Swedish and 25 South African institutions had jointly worked on building long-term projects and relationships. 31 planning grants have been granted, of which seven had resulted in project grants. The reviewers noted that the programme showed an impressive range of creative work from grass-root organisations to advanced institutions, from amateurs to professionals. Both were needed to strengthen each other and the cultural dimension of life. But new groups needed to be reached and the strong institutions had to find ways of including former disadvantaged groups by sharing skills, outreach programmes or by including them as project partners. When studying the relevance of the project grants in relation to most of the set objectives and the needs in both countries good results were shown.
The Swedish Institute (SI) is a government agency under the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that promotes interest and confidence in Sweden around the world. SI seeks to establish cooperation and lasting relations with other countries through strategic communication and exchange in the fields of culture, education, science and business. The purpose of the current SI initiative Creative Force is to establish dialogue and creative forums for culture. Three calls are being made in 2012 for cooperation projects within Creative Force: one for cooperation with countries in the Western Balkans, one for cooperation with countries in Eastern Europe and one for cooperation with countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Creative Force emphasises the importance of culture in international cooperation, in strengthening democracy and in promoting freedom of expression. The dual aims of Creative Force are to give women, children and young people a greater chance to influence and take part in cultural life, and to highlight freedom of expression, gender equality and cultural diversity. Via funding offers and dialogues, SI support a number of Swedish cooperation projects. The program initiatives embrace many different forms of cultural expression, from neo-circus and contemporary dance to new drama and cinema.
Due to the reform of the structure of Nordic cultural cooperation, Nordic Culture Point was set up by the Nordic Council of Ministers in January 2007. Its mandate is to promote Nordic cultural cooperation as well as promote Nordic culture internationally. In addition to the Nordic Culture Fund in Copenhagen, bilateral funds are available for Nordic countries to realise common projects.