Culture ministers of the Americas approve the ‘Declaration of Bridgetown’

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Gathered at the Eighth Inter-American meeting of ministers of culture, which took place in Barbados on September 19 and 20, the authorities of the member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved the Declaration of Bridgetown on “Strengthening of the creative economy and culture sector: Repositioning the culture sector to secure sustainable development.”

The declaration stresses the importance of harnessing the power of the creative economy and the culture sector to support jobs and growth, and the need to safeguard and promote culture to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The committee recognizes that creative and cultural industries can act as “economic drivers through the production, dissemination and/or commercialization of cultural and artistic goods, services and products,” and that they “offer new opportunities to boost countries in development towards digital areas and other high growth areas of the world economy.”

The document adopted focused on specific commitments to:

  • Design and implement public policies that encourage knowledge management, innovation and the development of new technologies, taking into account the role of the creative economy and the cultural sector.
  • Encourage cooperation among countries to foster innovation and creativity amongst micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as other productive units of the cultural sector.
  • Promote intersectoral links between sustainable development and the promotion of diversity and richness of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, as well as natural heritage.
  • Update intellectual property policies and systems that favor the development of culture and the creative economy through the protection of the rights of creators and owners of creative products and services.
  • Promote incentives for innovation and creativity and the encouragement of lawful access to the benefits of artistic, scientific, cultural and industrial creations.
  • Work on cultural data collection to understand the importance of the cultural sector by measuring its economic impact and contribution;
  • Identify alliances for the generation of policies aimed at achieving the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that contribute to the advancement of the creative economy and the cultural sector, and
  • Seek strategies to deepen the link between the cultural sector and other sectors, to advance the ecosystem of the creative economy.

The meeting was chaired by the minister of creative economy, culture and sports of Barbados, John King, who said, “We must find a way to cooperate on a technical level more routinely” and applauded “the innovative use of technology in reaching young people” reiterating that “the objective of the creative economy is indeed the development of our peoples.”

For his part, the OAS assistant secretary-general, Nestor Mendez, said “This ministerial meeting has once again underscored the important role that the OAS plays as a convener of the highest sectoral authorities, providing a space for critical political dialogue, this time helping to examine how we can strengthen the creative economy and the culture sector to play a larger role in our development. These fora also provide opportunities for cooperation and collaboration among our countries and build consensus around common issues.”

The IX Inter-American meeting of ministers of culture and highest appropriate authorities will be held in 2022 in Guatemala.

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