Results and prospects in the ACP-EU support to ACP cultural industries
After a year full of varied accomplishments and achievements, on behalf of the Department of Political Affairs and Human Development, I would like to wish everyone an excellent 2017. By taking the time to measure the progress made and the results achieved through the various development Programs for the benefit of ACP countries and the well-being of their populations, there is only one thing to be said: the progress is real, although there are still many challenges ahead. The ACP Group is more committed than ever to implementing the vision of our ACP Heads of State and Government at the 8th Summit held in June 2016 in Papua New Guinea, who resolutely declared “We acknowledge the need to place culture at the heart of development policies and strategies, given that cultural industries are not only sources of employment and innovation, but also vectors of peace, social cohesion, and sustainable human development” (Port Moresby Declaration – Article 14).
Let us therefore remain committed, mobilised, and proactive so that every citizen can assess the concrete effects of our actions.
– Léonard-Emile Ognimba, Assistant Secretary-General of the ACP Group of States – Department of Political Affairs and Human Development.
The following article provides information on the main activities carried out, the results achieved, and the perspectives in the framework of ACP-EU support to ACP cultural industries.
In 2012, the ACP Heads of State and Government meeting in Sipopo stressed the importance of culture in sustainable development and strongly declared: “No future without culture.” Since then, the ACP Cultures+ Programme has consistently translated this slogan into actions. Important results have been achieved in terms of structuring the sector, improving the production and dissemination of ACP works, and the training of operators, especially young professionals. As the ACP Cultures+ Programme intensifies its efforts to sustainably strengthen the cultural sector, the ACP Group knows that it can count on the unwavering support of its European partners with whom it shares a common vision. Culture is indeed an integral part of the strategy for cooperation between ACP countries and the European Union, as defined in the Cotonou Agreement, in particular, Article 27. Since 2007, 3 programs have been implemented by the ACP Secretariat and financed by the 9th and 10th European Development Funds: ACPFilm, ACPCultures, and ACPCultures+.
The ACP Cultures+ Programme has been allocated a budget of €30 million (compared with 14.3 million under the 9th EDF). Since 2012, the programme has been providing support to the entire sector (cinema/audiovisual and other cultural industries) and covers all links in the value chain, namely production, distribution, and training. After two calls for proposals launched in 2011 and 2012, 55 projects were supported for an amount of €23.3 million. Activities involve around 200 cultural organisations (many of them managed by young ACP professionals) working in partnership. They are carried out in more than 60 ACP countries. The cultural programmes implemented under the ACP-EU cooperation framework are outstanding both because of their exceptional level of funding and the duration of the supported actions (up to 3 years). The objective is to avoid the dissipation of resources and to have a structural impact on the ACP cultural industries. This contributes to the “leverage effect” of the programme, which helps to increase the visibility of ACP cultural operators, while giving them greater credibility with local and national institutions, and with the private sector. The tasks assigned to the Cultural Observatory launched by the 9th EDF ACP Cultures Programme are being pursued under the Cultural Policies Component of the ACP Cultures+ Programme. It provides ACP cultural policymakers with the elements needed for the establishment or improvement of the regulatory framework and multi-sectoral cultural policies, through studies, analyses and recommendations. In addition, significant resources were allocated to communication, so that the results and good practices could be more widely promoted and developed. The added value of the programme lies in the synergies developed between the various components, enabling improvement in the impact of all the actions implemented. Through active and innovative online communication, the supported projects’ results, the tools and studies to improve the regulatory framework, and the relevant information about the sector, are presented on the Programme’s website www.acpculturesplus.eu and its Facebook page.
MAIN RESULTS ACHIEVED
Hundreds of ACP works have been produced (13 feature-length films, 25 short 2D and 3D animated films, 26 radio documentaries, dozens of choreographies, books, CDs, plays, architectural works, websites, on-line platforms, film festivals, etc.). Many of them have been awarded at prestigious ACP and European cultural events such as the Cannes Film Festival. The works have been circulated within ACP countries and on an international level. Cultural operators have reinforced their technical, artistic, and management skills. Through intra-ACP partnerships, the transmission of South-South know-how has been promoted and has led to a greater impact on capacity building. More than 4000 ACP artists, technicians or managers have been trained in a wide range of fields such as production, directing, editing, sound recording, radio creation, Creative Commons, ICT, dance, theatre and music courses. These trainings have often created employment and made it possible for a new generation of talents to emerge. ACP-EU support has allowed ACP cultural operators to extend their traditional intervention areas and therefore many professional networks have been established or significantly strengthened. The economic impact in ACP countries is also very important, especially in terms of youth employment, cultural investments, and service providers’ development. The sustainability of the projects has often been achieved through an expanded collaboration with public authorities. Legal frameworks in ACP countries have been improved through directories, studies, and databases made available to culture professionals through the improved Cultural Policy component of the Programme.
The 11th EDF intra-ACP strategy provides for the implementation of a new programme to support the contribution of cultural industries to the socio-economic development of ACP countries. With an indicative budget of €40 million, it will seek to increase the economic revenues from creative industries as well as enhance ACP cultures. It is therefore crucial to keep supporting the production of ACP goods and services, especially the production of images, one of the best tools for the dissemination of cultural diversity.
One of the main objectives of the ACP Group is to “promote and strengthen unity and solidarity among the ACP States, as well as understanding between ACP peoples” (Georgetown Declaration – 1975). The support to the creative industries and cultural operators is undoubtedly a strategic element for achieving this objective.