The CoMoCoSEE - Enhancing culture for development is a unique cooperation platform in the field of culture, created by the Ministers responsible for culture in South-East Europe with the aim of promoting culture as an important vehicle for peacebuilding, reconciliation and development. Being the main cultural cooperation platform in South-East Europe, its main purpose is to strengthen regional cooperation and boost cultural heritage and creativity as drivers for sustainable development and regional integration.
On 19 November 2019, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Ohrid Declaration, UNESCO organised the Forum of the Ministers of Culture, in conjunction with the 40th session of the General Conference. Addressing the priorities, challenges and opportunities Member States are facing as they design and implement their cultural policies, the Forum aimed to foster reflection on cultural policies, from a global and transversal perspective, in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Particular attention was given to the regional studies on “CoMoCoSEE - Enhancing culture for development”, as they addressed the main priorities of cultural policies and the impact of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Numerous positive examples of good praxis are proof of CoMoCoSEE’s engagement:
- the ratification of International Conventions related to UNESCO, the European Union and the Council of Europe;
- the development of institutional cooperation (the International Centre for Underwater Heritage, Zadar, Croatia; the Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe, Sofia, Bulgaria; the South-East European Experts Network on Intangible Cultural Heritage);
- the multinational nominations of several sites and elements to the World Heritage List (e.g. Medieval Tombstones Graveyards – Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia; 16th - 17th century Venetian Works of Defence – Croatia, Montenegro and Italy; Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe – 12 countries);
- the organisation and implementation of joint projects boosting creativity and artistic expression and enhancing regional cooperation among artists, especially youth, within the region;
- the elaboration and implementation of joint projects, developed as a concrete follow-up to the Ohrid Declaration and respective declarations from Istanbul, Tirana Sarajevo and Sofia;
- the implementation of Culture for Development Indicators (CDIS) directly contributed to the positioning of culture in national development strategies, the strengthening of national statistic and information systems, as well as the enhanced collaboration and impact on international level.
At the Forum, CoMoCoSEE was deemed an excellent tool and platform that provides additional support to the policymaking process, enhancing the important role culture plays in sustainable development within the overall context of South-East Europe. As a platform for regional cultural cooperation, it represents valuable support for beneficial change.
Only a national follow-up within the Member States could lead to such change. For this reason, the annual meetings of the member Countries are essential in order to reaffirm the commitment of CoMoCoSEE Member States to work together in the field of culture and enable the development of their respective societies, especially within the overall context of 2030 Agenda.