Fostering Creativity in Central Asia
An International Forum on Cultural Policy and Management was held in Almaty on 27 and 28 November 2018.
Organized by the UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office in partnership with the Public Foundation "Cultural Dialogue" and support from the Goethe Institute in Kazakhstan, the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the Forum provided a platform to raise awareness about the importance of cultural policies to create an enabling environment for the creative industries to flourish.
The Agenda 2030 recognizes the importance of culture in sustainable development, both as an enabler and a driver. The development of creative industries in Central Asia is of particular relevance given the number of job opportunities it provides to the youth. In Kazakhstan, for instance, an estimated 3.8 % of all registered legal entities could be classified as creative industries.
UNESCO promotes sound, inclusive and participatory cultural policies within the framework of its 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. This international agreement aims to ensure that artists, cultural professionals, practitioners and citizens worldwide can create, produce, disseminate and enjoy a broad range of cultural goods, services and activities, including their own. The Convention recognizes the distinctive nature of cultural goods, services and activities as vehicles of identity, values and meaning. It also acknowledges the fact that while cultural goods, services and activities have important economic value, they are not mere commodities or consumer goods that can only be regarded as objects of trade. To date, Tajikistan is the only country in Central Asia having ratified this Convention.
The Forum participants – representatives of the Ministries of Culture and cultural managers and professionals from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - were able to learn about the new global evidence to inform cultural policy-making and advancing creativity for development through a presentation on the 2018 edition of the UNESCO Global Report Re|Shaping Cultural Policies. They also had the possibility to be acquainted with the cultural projects of the Asia-Europe Foundation in Singapore, the Goethe Institute, and the practitioners from Mongolia and Singapore.
The Forum highlighted the increasing number of initiatives promoting creative economies in Central Asia and helped forge new partnerships among the practitioners in the region and beyond.