Culture Ministers of Pacific Island Countries and Territories call for ratification of UNESCO’s 2005 Convention

The Declaration of the Third Meeting of the Pacific Ministers of Culture held on 25 May in Hagatna, Guam, calls for strengthening creative industries through the ratification of UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. This is a major development following Samoa’s ratification of the Convention in 2015, making it the first Pacific Island to have ratified the Convention to date.

The meeting of the 25 Ministers and senior officials took place during the 12th Festival of the Pacific Arts and Culture* and one day following the biannual meeting of the 27th Council of Pacific Arts and Culture. Senior officials at the meeting called on Ministers in the vast region to ratify the 2005 Convention.

The Council created the Festival in 1972 as a major regional event bringing together creative and performing artists from around the Pacific region for two weeks to promote mutual understanding and dialogue while showcasing creativity and promoting cultural diversity.

UNESCO’s report tracking the implementation of the 2005 Convention globally, Re|Shaping Cultural Policies, was launched at the Ministers meeting by Ms Danielle Cliche, Secretary of the 2005 Convention. With only two Pacific Island countries having adopted national cultural policies (Tonga and the Solomon Islands), the launch highlighted policy strategies and challenges faced by decision makers around the world as inspiration for several Pacific Island countries that are in the midst of developing new policies.

This includes the draft national cultural policy of Samoa presented during the meeting by the Samoan Ministry for Education, Sports and Culture, indicating how it reflects the goals and objectives of the 2005 Convention.

High on the agenda of both meetings was a mid-term review of the Pacific Community’s Regional Cultural Strategy: Investing in Pacific Cultures (2010-2020). The Strategy was designed to set standards for the development of policies to strengthen the culture sector as well as the creative industries in Pacific Island Countries and Territories. The Minister’s Declaration underlined the importance of supporting opportunities for collaboration and experience sharing including on innovative approaches to fund culture.

At the end of the Ministers Meeting,  Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu expressed their commitment to ratify the Convention in the near future.

* 27 Pacific island countries and territories participated at this year’s Festival of the Pacific Arts and Culture, included American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands (2024 Host), French Polynesia, Guam (2016 Host), Hawaii (2020 Host), Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

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