On 12 December 2019 in Juba, over 80 stakeholders in South Sudan’s cultural and creative industries sector, including the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and other ministry representatives, the European Union, civil society organizations, NGOS, media and universities, participated in the launching ceremony of a new UNESCO/EU project to design a copyright policy for the cultural and creative industries in South Sudan.
Within the framework of the EU-funded “EU/UNESCO Expert Facility on the Governance of Culture in developing countries”, South Sudan received support for the project following an international call for applications launched in December 2018 for developing countries, which have ratified the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, seeking to strengthen the regulatory frameworks for their cultural and creative industries through expertise and peer-to-peer learning support. The project aims to create legal frameworks for cultural and creative industries in South Sudan by elaborating the first- ever copyright policy of the country, aimed at protecting and promoting artistic works of South Sudanese artists and creators over the next 24 months.
South Sudan became a Party to 2005 UNESCO’s Convention in 2016, thereby formally recognizing the right of its government to adopt regulations, policies and measures to support the emergence of dynamic and strong cultural and creative industries. By the design of the first ever copyright policy, it aims to promote and protect the sector and also create employment, which will contribute to poverty reduction, support the development of a creative economy and innovation; and promote the creative use of technologies to benefit local communities. Through this new project, UNESCO will provide technical support to South Sudan, including training and capacity development of national authorities and stakeholders to establish a viable cultural governance system through coordination meetings, multi-stakeholder consultations, and technical expertise to develop legal frameworks governing the country’s cultural and creative industries.
“The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has a responsibility to respond to the needs of the sector and the design of the copyright policy can’t wait,” said the Under Secretary of Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Mr. Kuac Wek Wol. “Currently, we have legal issues in the country over lack of due acknowledgement of authorship of products”, he added.
“This is one of the important process in nation building and we would like to encourage all our stakeholders who would be part of this process to contribute to the development of this framework,” said Dr Nadia Arop Dudi, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. “There is no nation without a legislation, we need a copyright policy to support the cultural and creative industries so that creators get remunerations for their work”, she added.
“The European Union is pleased to be part of the nation building processes in South Sudan by supporting dynamic systems of governance for culture”, said Dr. Sinead WALSH, EU Ambassador to South Sudan. “There is a huge potential of the cultural and creative sector to contribute to sustainable development in South Sudan. Developing this copyright policy will ensure the rights of professionals in the sector are protected”, she added.
The Head of Office and UNESCO Country Representative to South Sudan Mr. Julius Banda, said, “UNESCO is committed to supporting South Sudan with ensuring active engagement of a diversity of voices in policy design and implementation, which is essential for transparent and participatory policy making in line with the guidance of the UNESCO 2005 Convention.”
“We are optimistic of the potential role played by the cultural and creative industries in the economic and sustainable development of South Sudan”, said Mr. Becu Thomas, National Culture Programme Officer for UNESCO Juba.