By Yusef Taylor and Edward Francis Dalliah
UNESCO Representative Ms Ojoma Ochai revealed to stakeholders in the arts, culture and creative sector that The Gambia was the first country to submit its 2019 Quadrennial Periodic Report in the new format. The UNESCO Rep made this revelation during a whole-day engagement with stakeholders from the arts, culture and creative sector including organisations such as the Music Union, the Writers Association of The Gambia, the Film Makers Association, Civil Society Organisations like Team Gom Sa Bopa, creatives and much more.
Held on 14th March 2023 at The Gambia’s National Museum in Banjul under the auspices of the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Director General Hassoum Ceesay delivered the welcoming remarks which were followed by presentations. The meeting focused on the UNESCO 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions [which] is an international agreement signed to date by 146 Parties,” including The Gambia.
Countries who are signatories to the UNESCO 2005 Convention are expected to submit Reports every four years known as a Quadrennial Periodic Report (QPR) “on the policies and measures they have adopted to implement the Convention”.
UNESCO Representative, Ms Ochai delivered a presentation on the day’s activities which focused on delegates’ present submitting activities conducted to progress the implementation of the Convention in The Gambia.
During her presentation, she revealed that “The Gambia was the first country [out of many] to submit its report in 2019 in the new format”.
The UNESCO 2005 Convention is “based on human rights and fundamental freedoms” and “acknowledges the dual nature, both cultural and economic, of contemporary cultural expressions”. The Convention also “recognizes the right of States to maintain, adopt and implement policies to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expression and to support the creation, production, distribution of and access to cultural goods and services”. One of the aims of the Convention is to “provide a framework for informed, transparent and participatory systems of governance for culture”.
Ms Ochai highlighted some of the UNESCO convention objectives and presented a background of previous conventions dating from 1972 to 2003 and finally the 2005 UNESCO Convention. The UNESCO Representative explained that this year’s QPR is centred on the 2005 convention which has multiple articles but has been narrowed down to four goals.
- Goal 1 – Support sustainable systems of governance for culture,
- Gaol 2 – Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase the mobility of artists and cultural professionals,
- Goal 3 – Integrate culture into sustainable development frameworks
- Goal 4 – Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms
After discussing the four goals the stakeholders present were split into four groups and filled out a form each focusing on one of the goals. At the end of the session, each group delivered a presentation of the information gathered on the activities they have conducted that contributed towards the promotion of the UNESCO 2005 Convention.
Stakeholders will later be assigned to a National Committee to oversee the completion of the filling of The Gambia’s 2023 QPR which has a deadline of June 2023 for submission.