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Culturelink review, no.27/April 1999 - contents - imprint - archive

World Culture Report

Culture, Creativity and Markets
UNESCO Publishing, 1998, 488 pp., ISBN 92 3 1034901

World Culture Report 1998, the first of a series to be published every two years, was drawn up by a group of experts from many countries in response to the first recommendation of the Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development, Our Creative Diversity. It is intended to survey recent trends in culture and development, construct and publish quantitative cultural indicators, assist in the formulation of cultural policies, and highlight good cultural practices and policies at local, national and international levels.

World Culture Report offers an in-depth analysis of interactions between culture, markets, democracy, urbanism, environment, and global ethics.

The Report contains many pages of dense, solid information, expert analysis and statistics, and is a unique resource for economists, politicians, NGOs, decision makers, culture professionals, and the informed public.

The Report sets out to be as intercultural as possible, in that authors from many different cultures have been invited to contribute to it. It will open up a new field in analytical and quantitative thinking on the relationship between culture and development, while providing scientific and creative inputs that inform policy makers.

In view of the fact that the Report is breaking new ground, many of its findings and proposals should be regarded as preliminary in nature. It is none-the-less vital that governments, intellectuals, artists and cultural activists should review and utilize these findings for activities and policies that have practical outcomes.

Quantitative indicators and indices of culture and development should be tried and tested in order to come up with more precise statistical categories and methodologies to enable governments to collect the necessary data in this field.

Why World Culture Report? Since a global crisis faces humanity, marked by increasing poverty in our asymmetrical world, environmental degradation and short-sightedness in policy making, culture is a crucial means of solving it. That is why UNESCO has decided to develop a new tool, World Culture Report, to provide a world-wide analysis on which new policies can be based. 'It is not a question of coming up with ideas. Today, practice itself is generating ideas, and these ideas have to be analyzed, looked at, with data and statistical analysis, and then given back to practitioners, and especially used to inform policy-makers', is how Lourdes Arizpe explains the purpose of the Report.

The following subjects are analyzed:

  • Culture and economic development;
  • Global sociocultural processes;
  • Creativity, markets and cultural policies;
  • Public opinion and global ethics;
  • Methodology: building cultural indicators;
  • Policy implications.

Statistical tables and cultural indicators are compiled, analyzed and presented at the end of the Report, drawn from the material that was already available. All this illustrates the crippling lack of basic indicators of culture. Therefore, it is hoped that for future reports many missing countries will be able to provide the relevant cultural information about themselves, so that the coverage of the indicators becomes more representative.

The chapter on culture and economic development looks at the cultural assumptions of development models, or rather at economic and social policies world-wide. Thus, it is noted that 'Western ethnocentrism has customarily been employed as the implicit basis of thinking about development. This paradigm, equating development with modernization and modernization with Westernization, has long been, and still is, the conventional wisdom, although it has been recognized that there are several alternative strategies of development. One of the many paradoxes that has accompanied internationalization and globalization is that local peculiarities are now being stressed more than before. Globalization stimulates localization, it would appear. Or rather, globalization leads to cultural interpretations which, in turn, lead to a multiplication of permutations and the growth of new 'local' cultures. Cultural pluralism is increasingly becoming an all-pervasive feature of societies, and ethnic identification is often a normal and healthy response to pressures of globalization. The impression of growing global uniformity may, therefore, be misleading as people turn more and more to culture as a means of self-definition and mobilization. Could it be, therefore, that globalization marks the true beginning of a search for a range of development models based on local differences?'

The part of the Report on creativity, markets and cultural policies examines the ways in which cultural policy can be recontextualized and reformulated so that it will be able to meet the changing demands on it in the opening years of the new millennium. The chapter looks particularly at the impact of global markets on creativity, on the emergence and development of the cultural industries, on cultural heritage and on the protection of the rights of creators and of the public interest in the age of cyberculture. These chapters acknowledge a role for national (or regional or local) governments in representing the collective interests of their citizens, allowing us to speak of a cultural policy which can be directed at shaping and managing cultural change on behalf of those citizens. In a rapidly changing world, there will be differences between countries and regions in the ways in which cultural policies can respond to the new challenges of the global market place. The chapter raises the question of how globalization affects the creative process, and defines cultural policy as an active force, fostering creativity, not resisting change, but managing it.

The section on methodology, subtitled Building Indicators, deals with the conceptual basis of cultural indicators of human well-being. Directly or indirectly, this section addresses several basic questions that arise naturally in the context of such indicators. First, what exactly do we mean by cultural aspects of life in a society? Secondly, what is the purpose of constructing cultural indicators, and, given the purpose, what indicators should one choose? Lastly, should one try to aggregate these indicators so as to have only a few broad indicators, or, possibly, to construct a single overall composite index?

The data contained in the Report point to the need for democratic institutions to favour a more participatory culture and more democratic political structures open to diverse voices and interests within nation-states.

As the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Federico Mayor, concludes in his Preface to the Report, 'UNESCO, in its mission to build a culture of peace, is unequivocally concerned with diversity and reciprocity'.

World Culture Report promises to be another stepping stone on the path to peace.

To obtain the publication, please contact: UNESCO Publishing, Promotion and Sales Division, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France, fax: +33 1 45 68 57 37; http://www.unesco.org/publications

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The Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development: Final Report

UNESCO Publishing, CLT-98/Conf.210/CLD.19, 75 pp.

The final report of the Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development (Stockholm, 30 March - 2 April 1998; See also Culturelink no. 25/August 1998, pp. 45-48.) gives an overview of the Conference, together with the Action Plan on Cultural Policies for Development, and Plenary, Forum and Agora Sessions. It also contains the first UNESCO Business Forum on Enterprise, Human Development and Culture in the Global Age, whose organization was entrusted to the Progressio Foundation based in The Netherlands; the Youth Forum, which was organized by the UNESCO Secretariat and the summary of the Award Ceremony for the UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize.

Five policy objectives were recommended to the member states, discussed within the framework of the Action Plan on Cultural Policies and Development:

  • To make cultural policy one of the key components of development strategy;
  • To promote creativity and participation in cultural life;
  • To reinforce policy and practice to safeguard and enhance the cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, moveable and immoveable, and to promote cultural industries;
  • To promote cultural and linguistic diversity in and for the information society;
  • To make more human and financial resources available for cultural development.

The premise underlying the whole First UNESCO Business Forum on Enterprise, Human Development and Culture in the Global Age was the role of enterprise as one of society's main engines. Since the strategies and conduct of business profoundly affect human development and the culture of our times, the Forum discussed how education, science, communication and culture, the four realms of UNESCO, would be affected and, in turn, affect our lives. Which new industries will be created? How can progressive business leaders integrate culture into new products and services? What role can finance play? What enterprise ethics and values will be needed to ensure a just and sustainable world development? These key questions provided the background, the answers and further questions generated in the discussions aiming to help shape a new business agenda.

The Youth Forum was designed to discuss the agenda of the Conference and to deliver an opinion on behalf of young people.

The UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize has been instituted to recognize municipal policies and actions that promote social cohesion, improve living standards and create a 'citizen-friendly urban environment' based on respect for cultural diversity and the fostering of neighbourhood solidarity and active citizenship. In Stockholm, the Prize was awarded to the following cities:

  • Africa: Harare (Zimbabwe), Johannesburg (South Africa);
  • Asia and the Pacific: Olongapo (Philippines), Waitakere (New Zealand);
  • Europe: Pecs (Hungary), Saint-Denis (France);
  • Arab States: Tunis (Tunisia), Hebron (Autonomous Palestinian Territories).

The Conference was hailed as a landmark in joint efforts to ensure that culture is placed at the centre of the international policy-making process. The subsequent launching by governments and international organizations - such as the World Bank, the Interamerican Development Bank and other development bodies - of significant initiatives in culture and development has also confirmed that, in order to ensure the follow-up that the Conference requires, it is essential for UNESCO to reinforce its efforts in this domain. Therefore, the Director-General presented preliminary proposals to this end to UNESCO's Executive Board and was invited to continue the elaboration of the comprehensive follow-up strategy requested in the Stockholm Action Plan.

The Appendices to the Report contain welcome and other addresses of the keynote speakers, followed by the summary of the Conference and the list of participants.

The English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish language editions of the Report are available.

For further information or to obtain the Report, please contact: UNESCO, 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France, tel.: +33 (0) 1 45 68 10 00; fax: +33 (0) 1 45 67 16 90.

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Culture de Quartier: Une Interaction Afrique-Europe 1998-2001 / Culture in the Neighbourhood: An Afro-European Interaction 1998-2001

A follow-up of the World Decade for Cultural Development

The project Culture in the Neighbourhood: An Afro-European Interaction is a follow-up of the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997). It proposes a cultural cooperation scheme between four African (Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Namibia and Mozambique) and four European countries (Finland, France, Switzerland and Austria). (See also Culturelink no. 22/August 1997, pp. 37-38.)

The project is based on some pilot-projects:

  • UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize, a tool to mobilize new partners to build inter-urban solidarity based on the mutual recognition of the urban cultures;
  • Culture in the Neighbourhood, to promote the cultural activities performed by the inhabitants of a neighbourhood for the inhabitants of this neighbourhood on themes directly related to their life, in order to draw them closer together and thus reinforce their belonging to the place they live in and to its social entity;
  • Urban Cultures, in close connection with the previous project, aims at promoting culture in all its classic and new forms as a factor of integration, in particular for young people, in underprivileged districts as well in historical city centres, where it should become an element of revitalization and rehabilitation.

The first meeting of the National Coordinators was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in November 1997, when the project Culture in the Neighbourhood - An Afro-European Interaction was officially launched. Their second meeting was held in Strasbourg, in November 1998, when they gave progress reports on the implementation of the project in the participating neighbourhoods, compared their experiences, and specified the various types of exchanges planned on a bilateral as well on a multilateral basis.

As far as the implementation of the project itself is concerned, in Ouagadougou, in the district of Dessasgho, 200 women attend classes to eliminate illiteracy; in Cameroon, workshops for plastic arts, dance, cinema and theatre are operating in various districts of Yaoundé and Douala; in Finland, the school children of Vantaa Hakunila make drawings of their neighbourhood and exhibit their works; in Namibia, courses in drawing, painting, music, theatre and dance are being offered to the young people of the district of Katutura, in Windhoek.

All the information concerning the project can be read in the Newsletter published by the Swiss National Commission for UNESCO, which is in charge of the coordination of the whole project. The Newsletter is published in English and French, and the next issue will be published in the spring of 1999.

For more information, please contact: Mrs. Madeleine Viviani, Swiss National Commission for UNESCO, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland, tel.: 41 31 324 10 62; fax: 41 31 324 10 70; e-mail: madeleine.viviani-schaerer@eda.admin.ch

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Voices, Values and Development: Reinventing Africa South of the Sahara

Alison Clayson, UNESCO, 1997, 96 pp.

Africa as a cradle of civilization - culturally rich and culturally diverse. There is no more diverse continent on the planet. Some 700 million people in Africa speak 1,000 distinct languages. Africans practice Christianity, Islam and traditional religious beliefs; they have also assimilated various elements of Francophone, Anglophone and Lusophone cultures into their own indigenous societies. They are nomads, island people, sedentary horticulturalists, traders, seafarers and forest dwellers, as well as inhabitants of modern cities.

This brochure represents Africa through the subjects of Education, Science, Social Sciences, Culture, Communication. It touches on the question of women, biodiversity, water, the so called Iron Roads of Africa (metal-working technologies), the Slave Route, broadcasting for peace.

For more information, please contact: UNESCO, Priority Africa Department, 7, Place de Fontenoy, F-75352 Paris 07 SP, France, tel.: (33) 1 45 68 10 00; fax: (33) 1 45 68 55 46.

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The International Directory of Experts Specializing in Informatics

International Informatics Programme, UNESCO, 1998, 626 pp., CII-98/WS/1

The International Directory of Institutions Specializing in Informatics

International Informatics Programme, UNESCO, 1998, 454 pp., CII-98/WS/2

The International Directory of Experts Specializing in Informatics and The International Directory of Institutions Specializing in Informatics bring together vital information concerning a wide range of both governmental and non-governmental organisations involved in informatics development and its application in areas linked to the objectives of the Intergovernmental Informatics Programme (IPP). The Directories aim to make specialised experts and institutions known in both developing and industrialised countries and thus facilitate communication between experts/institutions and between the Member States. In both directories an attempt has been made to provide comprehensive information for each expert or institution, including (for experts) working experience and expertise, the areas of profession and consultancy envisaged, and publications; (and for institutions) size and status of the institution, types of training and services provided, and the research and development activities of each organisation.

The Directories are organised by continents and countries and additional indexes are provided to enable searches by different criteria.

Existing entries have been updated to reflect the numerous comments and suggestions received by the IIP secretariat for the previous editions.

The Directories are the product of UNESCO's continuing effort to promote the free flow of ideas and the exchange of information and thus help developing countries to enhance their means of communication.

For more information, please contact: Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Informatics Programme, UNESCO, tel.: (+33 1) 45 68 38 82; fax: (+33 1) 45 68 55 86; e-mail: e.stewart@unesco.org

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Lighting up the Future in the Mirror of the Past

UNESCO's Activities in the Arab World
M. Ahmed Derradji and Naji Abou Khalil, UNESCO, 1997, 64 pp.

This brochure represents the Arab world, composed of twenty-one countries, all members of UNESCO, as well as the Palestinian Autonomous Territories, with a combined population which attained 258.1 million in 1995, as a world noted for both its unity and its diversity. Unity of language - Arabic, and of religion - Islam; and unity of history; and diversity in terms of geography, economy and political system. Arab culture, known for its ability to adapt and assimilate, has been able to reconcile unity and diversity.

The brochure deals with various aspects of Arabic life under following headings: Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture of Peace, Palestine, Culture, Communication, Miscellaneous.

For further information, please contact: UNESCO, 7 Place de Fontenoy, F-75352 Paris 07 SP, France, tel.: +33 1 45 68 14 07; fax: +33 1 42 73 30 07.