Kingston, 11 November 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says Jamaica has been reaping the benefits of signing on to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression.
The Minister was speaking at the recent National Consultation on Cultural Diversity.
Minister Grange said:
“It is not always easy to connect the dots from treaties and conventions signed and ratified to actual evidence of improvements in the sector… [However], I can speak to developments in our Jamaican creative sector as a result of this Convention.”
According to Minister Grange, Jamaica played a leading role in the development of the Convention which promotes “two very significant tenets: the promotion of international cooperation in culture for development; and, even more importantly, the provision of preferential treatment to developing countries for the mobility of artists and cultural practitioners as well as movement of goods and services from developing to developed countries.”
Minister Grange said there has been an increase in the output of the creative sector as a result of the Convention, as “Jamaica partnered with promoters in Europe, Canada and the United States, particularly in 2008 when the European Union adopted the Convention in the development of its Protocol on Cultural Cooperation and in the liberalisation of preferential trade in culture for contractural services suppliers as part of the Economic Partnership Agreement.”
The Minister pointed to the number of Jamaican artistes, technicians and cultural academics participating in Reggae festivals in Europe as a successful outcome of formal engagement under the Convention. But she said “there is still scope to take greater advantage of the elements of the Convention.”
Minister Grange said the National Consultation and the three-day workshop, which followed, were part of the Ministry’s programme to encourage Jamaican creatives to engage more with developed countries as the government seeks to promote even greater prosperity for the sector.
Minister Grange also used the opportunity to update stakeholders on the government’s plan to review the Copyright Act to incorporate the WIPO-Administered Marrakech Treaty — which makes the production and international transfer of specially-adapted books for people with blindness or visual impairments easier — among other amendments.
The National Consultation titled ‘Reshaping Cultural Policies for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions’ and the workshop received technical support from Ms Avril Joffe, a member of UNESCO’s Panel of Experts on Cultural Policy and Governance through the generous support of UNESCO and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. The Consultation and workshop focused on reporting on Jamaica’s actions under the Convention and saw the participation of a wide cross-section of members of Jamaica’s Cultural and Creative Industries.