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Council of Europe

Culturelink review, no.40/August 2003 - contents - imprint - archive

eCulture at the Council of Europe

(Text prepared for the eCulture - European Perspectives Conference, Zagreb, 25-27 April 2003.)

I. Examples

Examples of e-culture information systems in the Council of Europe:

  • Cultural policies in Europe: A Compendium of Basic Facts and Trends. One of the largest, up-to-date and comprehensive e-content projects in the field of cultural policy around the world. It provides easy access to data, facts, trends and summaries of current debates on national cultural policies in some 30 European states. Eventually, all 48 states, party to the European Cultural Convention, should participate and the system should develop into a cultural policy monitoring system. The Compendium runs as a joint venture with the European Research Institute for Comparative Cultural Policy and the Arts (ERICarts, Bonn). It depends on the input by a select group of cultural policy experts, co-operating with leading research institutions and the governments of their respective countries, and represents an outstanding community of practice.
  • HEREIN, the European Heritage Network, is a permanent information system linking European governmental departments responsible for cultural heritage conservation. It has been developed as an instrument for implementing and monitoring the European conventions on architectural and archaeological heritage. The HEREIN system is linked to the above Compendium system.

II. Activities

1. Cultural Policy and Action Department

Adopted texts (selection):

2. Cultural Heritage Department

  • Digitisation of cultural property activity
    Digitisation of Europe's cultural resources is considered important, because it improves access to knowledge for all, it is a means to preserve cultural diversity, and digitised heritage is a resource for the electronic industries.
    In view of the problems of ethics and methodology in digitising cultural assets, the work of the Council of Europe is being coordinated with EU initiatives. One output is the HEREIN network and its information system (see above).

3. Integrated Project Making democratic institutions work (2002-2004)

The goal of this priority project is to consolidate common European standards that will assist both member states and civil society in setting up coherent policy frameworks and practical instruments to strengthen democratic institutions, so that they are representative, transparent and accessible to all, and to encourage the widest and most active participation possible of Europe's citizens. The multilateral and transversal activities include e-governance and e-voting.

  • E-governance is aiming to modernise government by changing both the delivery of public services and the broader interactions between citizens and government, taking thus into account both the new technology-mediated processes and the involvement of partners from civil society and business.
  • E-voting investigates the legal, political and technical feasibility, as well as advantages and disadvantages, of the application of digital technology within the framework of elections. Electronic devices/procedures to replace the casting of a paper ballot include electronic voting machines, optical scan devices, election authority-run kiosks, telephone voting, WAP mobile telephone voting, SMS voting (text messaging), digital television, Internet voting (remotely or in the polling place).
  • Contribution to the World Summit on Information Society
    The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) will be held in Geneva in December 2003 and in Tunis in November 2005. For its second preparatory meeting in February 2003, the Integrated Project coordinated the Council of Europe contribution based on legal standards and ongoing discussions in its intergovernmental and parliamentary bodies. The key issues of this contribution include democracy, human rights and the rule of law in information society. (The Compendium information system is mentioned in this contribution as an outstanding project in the cultural policy area.)

III. Related texts

Committee of Ministers

  • Convention on Cybercrime 2001
    The convention tries to harmonise national legislation in the area of computer-related crime such as piracy or criminal content on the Internet. However, conditions for entry into force have not been met.
    The convention has been criticised by Philippe Quéau (UNESCO) in an article in Le monde diplomatique of June 2001:
  • Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems, 2003

    The protocol was opened for signature in January 2003.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

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Publications and Reports

You can find four interesting on-line publications visiting the following website: http://www.coe.int/T/E/Cultural_Co-operation/Culture/Assistance_&_Development/S.T.A.G.E/Publications/

Policy review of the Georgian book sector by Grzegorz Boguta
Imagination and regeneration: Cultural policy and the future of cities by Charles Landry
Cultural legislation: Why? How? What? by Delia Mucica
The Performing Arts: A Manual for Managers by Simon Mundy.

With these four on-line publications, the Council of Europe continues to provide interested researchers and cultural operators with valuable materials covering different areas of cultural policy and cultural practices across Europe.

For more recent information about the CoE's activities and projects, we invite you to visit the website at: http://www.coe.int

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Kiev (Ukraine) and Piedmont (Italy) Designated as European Region of the Year 2005

The Region of Kiev (Ukraine) and the Region of Piedmont (Italy) have been elected the European Regions of the Year 2005 by an international jury, as announced by the President of the European Region of the Year Organisation. Over twenty regions competed for this title.

The European Region of the Year is an initiative which aims to increase the knowledge and recognition of European regional affairs, to make new contributions to regional construction and European integration, and, finally, to project the regions designated as the European Region of the Year onto the European and international scene in all their aspects, such as social, cultural, economic and tourist. The initiative has certain similarities to the European Capitals of Culture, but focused on the regional level.

Kiev is the capital of Ukraine. It has the status of a region due to its administrative structure and economic potential. With a population of 2,621,000 and an area of 836 km2, Kiev is located in the centre of Ukraine, on the banks of the river Dnieper. As an industrial and university centre, it houses important museums and monasteries. The Cathedral of Santa Sofia (11th-18th centuries) has Byzantine mosaics and paintings. Kiev was founded more than 15 centuries ago, and was one of the main centres of the political, economic and cultural life of the Eastern Slavic peoples. Nowadays, Kiev is acknowledged as a beautiful European city.

The Piedmont region (Italy), whose capital is the city of Turin, includes the provinces of Alessandria, Asti, Cuneo, Novara, Tur!n and Vercelli. With a population of 4,214,000 and an area of 25,399 km2, it occupies the greater part of the upper basin of the river Po and enjoys a continental climate. It includes a mountainous area (Piedmontese Alps) and a lower part, where major industrial activity has developed. Mention ought to be made in this respect of the Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, founded in 1899, which adopted the name of FIAT in 1906 and became one of the biggest car manufacturing companies in the world. Piedmont was in the centre of the states controlled by the House of Savoy. It was annexed by France in 1799, and returned to Victor Emmanuel I in 1814-1815.

Every year, two regions are designated as the European Region of the Year. These regions must belong to different countries, as is the case with the Balearic Islands (Spain) and the Republic of Karelia (Russia), the European Region of the Year 2003, or Madeira (Portugal) and the German-speaking Community of Belgium voted the European Region of the Year 2004.

Any region of the 45 member states of the Council of Europe may apply to be chosen the European Region of the Year. The regions which wish to be chosen must submit their applications, by the prescribed deadline and in the appropriate form, to the Barcelona headquarters of the promoting organisation.

For more information, please contact: Organisation of The European Region of the Year, Ronda Universitat, 7, E - 08007 Barcelona, Spain
tel.: +34 934123294; fax: +34 934126871; e-mail: info@tery.org