European Community (EC) cultural intervention in the
context of the development policy is limited. The most
ambitious actions are focused on African, Caribbean and
Pacific (ACP) countries, where the EC has a clear mandate
in the field of culture since 1995. In 1995, the EC also launched cultural actions
in the Mediterranean region.
Culture has also been recently integrated in the policy
dialogue in the framework of Asia-Europe meetings (ASEM) and
EU-Latin America Caribbean (LAC) summits.
A new approach to culture in development cooperation
In 2006, the European Commission's Directorate General for
Development initiated work on a draft Communication on
Culture in EU Development Policy. The Communication would
come in response to changes in the political context
At international level, there is growing recognition from both developing countries and donors of the importance
of Culture in external relations, particularly development cooperation. This
has led to the adoption, in October 2005, of the
on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural
At European Union (EU) level, the Commission, European Parliament
and Member States have adopted, in December 2005, the
European Consensus on Development, which clearly identifies culture as part of the areas of European
Community (EC) action in development cooperation.
As far as the objectives of the Communication are concerned,
it would aim to:
- Strengthen the cultural dimension in EU Development
- Provide a single policy framework for culture that
will ensure the coherence of EC action in all developing
- Set key
principles and priorities of EC cultural action at
national, regional and international level.
- Set the
basis of an vision to be shared with EU Member States.
On 30 May 2006, DG Development organised a meeting
of External Stakeholders on Culture in Development Policy.
The aim of the Workshop was to involve NGOs, professional organisations, professionals, experts, consultants, academia
and research centres with the elaboration of the draft
Communication. The meeting was opened by Mr. Bernard Petit,
Director for Development Policy and Sectoral Issues at DG
Development (click here
to see his speech). The meeting was attended by 32
stakeholder representatives. The Minutes of the meeting can be
of stakeholders are also available on-line.
This was followed on 13 June 2006 by an Informal
Meeting of Member State Experts on Culture. The meeting was
opened by Mr. Bernard Petit, Director for Development Policy
and Sectoral Issues at DG Development. The meeting was
attended by 42 Member State experts. The Minutes of the
meeting can be accessed
here. The Commission's
of the draft Communication is also available.
The cultural dimension is wholly integrated in
the Cotonou Agreement, which governs relations between
the EC and the 77 ACP countries.
Article 27 on "Cultural
development" stipulates that "Cooperation in
the area of culture shall aim at:
cultural dimension at all levels of development cooperation;
and promoting cultural values and identities to enable
and promoting the value of cultural heritage; supporting
the development of capacity in this sector; and
industries and enhancing market access opportunities
for cultural goods and services".
In line with this requirement,
the European Commission intervenes through its development
aid programming at three levels: national, regional and
for the whole ACP region.
At national level, programmes of support to decentralised
cultural initiatives (PSICD) have been set up in over
a dozen ACP countries. These programmes support micro-projects
run by decentralised operators such as associations,
communities or private actors, with the aim of reinforcing
the organisational capacities of the cultural sector,
professionalising artists and cultural bodies, and valorising
The Commission also supports specific cultural programmes
and projects at both national and regional level. Some
aim at contributing to the preservation, presentation
(museums) and valorisation of ACP countries’ cultural
heritage and its environment. Others concern diffusion,
production and training actions in the full range of
artistic domains and events, such as the Panafrican Film
and TV festival
(FESPACO) thus contributing to consolidating
and professionalising the cultural sector.
Finally, the Commission has launched programmes that
work on the basis of calls for proposals and that benefit
the entire ACP region:
- The ACP Cinema Support Programme co-finances the
production and diffusion of audiovisual works from
ACP countries, including movies, TV series, documentaries
and animation films. Information on the previous cinema
programme which ended in 2004 can be found
As for the Africa Cinémas project for film distribution,
which is part of the cinema support programme, please
A new Cinema Programme is currently under preparation
and is to be launched in 2005.
- The Programme for Support of ACP Cultural Events
in Europe (PAMCE – Programme d’appui aux
manifestations culturelles des pays ACP dans l’UE)
ended up in 1994. It used to co-finance festival and
shows featuring ACP music, performing arts, etc., in
Europe. The PAMCE is to be replaced in 2005 by a new
programme which will aim to support cultural industries
in ACP countries.
Calls for proposals for the new programmes will be
published on the
An overview of the cultural cooperation with ACP countries
can be found in the
Courrier No 194.
Additional information is also available on the Website
The 1995 Barcelona Declaration founding the new Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership includes a Chapter III entitled "Partnership in social, cultural and
Human affairs: Developing human resources, promoting understanding between
cultures & exchanges between civil societies".
The Declaration states
that "dialogue and respect between cultures and
religions are a necessary precondition for bringing the
peoples closer". In this context, it emphasises "the
importance of the role the mass media can play in the
reciprocal recognition and understanding of cultures
as a source of mutual enrichment" and the necessity "to
promote cultural exchanges and knowledge of other languages,
respecting the cultural identity of each partner".
On this basis, several
programmes have been launched since 1995 and notably:
- Euromed Heritage supports projects
aimed at promoting and preserving the Euro-Mediterranean
cultural heritage. Phase I (1997-2003) has a budget
of €17.2 million and Phase II (2001-2008) of €30
- Euromed Audiovisual supports projects
aimed at developing new forms of cooperation between
European and Mediterranean TV and cinema operators.
It has a budget of €20 million between 2000 and
- Euromed Youth aims to facilitate
the integration of young people into the professional
and social life, stimulate democratisation and facilitate
mutual understanding between youth on both sides of
the Mediterranean. It has a budget of €6 million
between 1999 and 2006.
Apart from these main
programmes, the EC finances other actions like a full
set of cultural activities organised by EC Delegations
every year or the Euromed Civil Forums. The last
civil forum was dedicated to the Dialogue of Cultures.
Last but not least,
other programmes and initiatives (under preparation)
such as the Euromed Foundation on the Dialogue of Cultures,
the "Role of women in the economic life", complete
Information on the
Euro-med regional programmes can be find on the
relations Web site.
2004 Cultural cooperation Programme
On 25 June 2004, the Commission approved an Annual
Work Programme for 2004 for Cultural Cooperation with
Developing Countries. The programme has a budget of €1
million to support pilot projects that aim to promote
cultural diversity and mutual understanding amongst developing
countries, as well as between the EU and developing countries:
- Some €500,000 were devoted to supporting the
Cultural Forum 2004 that took place in Sao Paulo from 26 June to 4 July
2004. The EC grant supported the participation of artists,
intellectuals and arts professionals from the Africa,
Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region and the Arab world,
with a view to reinforcing the South-South dialogue
during the event. The EC grant also supports the publication
and dissemination of the main outcomes of the Forum.
- Two pilot projects aimed at supporting exchanges
allowing for greater cultural understanding between
the EC and developing countries will be selected through
a call for proposals and benefit each from €250,000
worth of support. These projects will aim at implementing
concrete actions of an educational nature conducted
at higher education or university level. These actions
should also contribute to the dissemination of the
values related to a strong cultural dialogue and respect
amongst different cultures. Information on the call
will be published on the