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Culture in EU development cooperation

UNESCO's cultural diversity convention (2005), European Consensus on Development (2005) and the European Commission's communication on a European agenda for culture in a globalising world (2007) all bear witness to the growing recognition that culture is vitally important for human wellbeing.

Other key links and documents

Policy approach

The EU gives culture an important place in development cooperation by:

  • systematically integrating the cultural aspect in all its policies, projects and programmes,
  • funding the preservation of cultural heritage and the emergence of viable cultural industries,
  • covering living culture andcultural heritage - both important for growth, jobs and cultural identity,
  • encouraging its partners to include culture in their own poverty reduction strategies and national development plans.

Unlike other donors, the EC gives priority to promoting and supporting its partners' culture rather than focusing on the promotion of its own culture.

Financial support

All regions
EU financial support is concentrated on promoting

  • cultural diversity,
  • intercultural dialogue,
  • people's access to culture and
  • access for cultural artefacts to foreign markets.

Through the Investing in People programme, the Commission is also promoting culture in new regions - outside the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the southern Mediterranean, where it has long been active.

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries
Over a third of the EC's financial support to culture in ACP countries comes from intra-ACP programmes, namely:

  • the EU-ACP support programme for the cinema and audiovisual sectors, which co-finances the production and diffusion of audiovisual works from ACP countries and the training of audiovisual professionals.
  • the EU-ACP support programme for cultural industries, which which includes the creation of an ACP cultural observatory; a pilot project implemented by UN agencies in 5 ACP countries; and a grant scheme open to all ACP countries.

These two programmes are implemented by the ACP Secretariat with the technical assistance of two management units.

Other support includes:

  • an EU-ACP cultural fund will be set up to support the distribution of cultural works throughout the ACP region and access to the EU market;
  • in some ACP countries, support for micro-projects run by associations, communities or private individuals;
  • funding for various national and regional projects (preserving, displaying and marketing cultural heritage, producing and disseminating works of art, promoting artistic events and providing training).

Southern Mediterranean
The Euromed Audiovisual II programme was launched in the Southern Mediterranean region in 2006, with a budget of €15 M for three years. It aims to bring European and Mediterranean cultures together by promoting audiovisual and cinema exchange.


Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top