Inter-American Council for Integral Development

Inter-American Council for Integral Development

November 15, 2006 18:52 ET

Third Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Culture and Highest Appropriate Authorities: Montreal Final Statement

Approved at the Closing Session held on November 15, 2006

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 15, 2006) -

MONTREAL FINAL STATEMENT

(Approved at the Closing Session held on November 15, 2006)

The Third Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Culture and Highest Appropriate Authorities of the Organization of American States (OAS) was held in Montreal, Canada, from November 13 to 15, 2006. The Honourable Bev Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, chaired the meeting. The Ministers and Highest Authorities responsible for Culture of OAS Member States as well as representatives from civil society and international organizations participated in discussions. Permanent observers and representatives from civil society and international organizations also attended.

Their dialogue on cultural policy focussed on four themes inspired by priorities highlighted by Heads of State at the Fourth Summit of the Americas (Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2005): the preservation and presentation of cultural heritage; culture and the enhancement of the dignity and identity of our people; culture and the creation of decent jobs and the overcoming of poverty; and culture and the role of indigenous peoples. Throughout the sessions, a crosscutting issue identified as a priority at the latest General Assembly of the OAS was also addressed, i.e. the support for "inter-American policies and programs that foster the development of culture in the region and consider the impact that ICTs can have on its multiple dimensions", and "for the efforts to protect and promote cultural diversity, as well as cultural identities, within the knowledge-based society" (Declaration of Santo Domingo, 2006).

I. THE PRESERVATION AND PRESENTATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE

The United States facilitated the first thematic session with support from the Dominican Republic and the Institute of Female Entrepreneurs, an NGO from Haiti. This session allowed for an examination of multifaceted strategies for the preservation and presentation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, with particular emphasis on innovative intersectoral and international partnerships. It provided an opportunity to discuss how interwoven cultural preservation efforts are providing broader access to and nurturing culture. Ministers and Highest Appropriate Authorities examined the challenges facing cultural institutions with regard to disaster preparation and recovery, and exchanged successful initiatives and partnerships undertaken to address these. They shared best practices in digital preservation of cultural heritage, and focussed on documentation and presentation of intangible cultural heritage.

II. CULTURE AND THE ENHANCEMENT OF THE DIGNITY AND IDENTITY OF OUR PEOPLE

Jamaica led the second thematic session, to which Canada and Ecuador brought complementary perspectives. This Session allowed for an examination of multisectoral strategies based on actions in critical areas related to identity formation and poverty reduction. Ministers and Highest Appropriate Authorities examined various approaches and practices that could be considered to promote the positive identity and dignity of all cultures, taking into account, where appropriate, the need to protect vulnerable cultural groups. Discussions focussed on ways to attain this goal by fostering the development of partnerships between the education and the culture sectors, facilitating the development and promotion of cultural industries, and elaborating means to assess achievements and outcomes. Ministers and Highest Appropriate Authorities shared concrete experiences in developing appreciation and respect for arts, culture and languages of the hemisphere from an early age, including infusing them into educational programs.

III. CULTURE AND THE CREATION OF DECENT JOBS AND THE OVERCOMING OF POVERTY

The third session was facilitated by Brazil with support from Colombia and from the Instituto Axe from Salvador, Bahia. This topic was approached through considerations on how the OAS could promote the exchange of cultural data, highlight the cross-cutting nature of cultural policies and reflect the role of culture in the alleviation of poverty. The dialogue highlighted the challenges facing the development of standardized cultural indicators, which would facilitate the assessment of the scale and impact of industrialised as well as informal and non-industrialised cultural economies on development. Ministers and Highest Appropriate Authorities discussed concrete programs developed with the help of clear cultural indicators and satellite accounts, as well as social projects by NGOs, which contribute to overcoming social exclusion. In addition, it was suggested that the OAS help facilitate the development of common measurements allowing a more accurate evaluation of cultural policies in the Hemisphere.

IV. CULTURE AND THE ROLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

The fourth thematic session was facilitated by Guatemala with contributions from Mexico and the Assembly of First Nations of Canada. It began with an analysis of the Member States' cultural policies and their impact on the development of the cultures of indigenous peoples. The influence of indigenous peoples on the formulation of cultural policies was also discussed, as well as the inclusion of their values in educational curricula. Ministers and Highest Appropriate Authorities examined measures designed to preserve and to give recognition to the knowledge of indigenous peoples, and considered the role of aboriginal cultural heritage in the development of national cultures. The discussions focused on experiences in indigenous participation and cultural industries, and recognized the value and importance of languages, cosmovision, spirituality, multilingualism, intercultural dialogue, the arts, and technologies for the integral development of indigenous peoples and society as a whole.

In summary, Ministers and Highest Appropriate Authorities responsible for Culture took this opportunity to underline the significant contribution of the cultural sector in efforts to combat poverty and to improve the dignity and quality of life of the population of the Americas. Their discussions stressed the importance of preserving and presenting the diverse cultural expressions of our peoples as a substantial factor in ensuring social cohesion and sustainable economic development in the Americas in an age of globalization.

The Ministers and Highest Appropriate Authorities expressed their commitment towards continued progress and concrete results pertaining to these priority areas by agreeing upon a pragmatic List of Priority Activities for 2007-2008 (enclosed).

The Inter-American Committee on Culture will monitor the fulfillment of these commitments with support from the OAS Technical Secretariat, and will report on achievements at the Fourth Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Culture and Highest Appropriate Authorities, to be held in 2008.

Attachment: List of Priority Activities for 2007-2008



PRELIMINARY LIST OF PRIORITY ACTIVITIES FOR 2007-2008

The ministers and other high-level government authorities responsible for cultural policy and for supporting cultural activities in the member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), gathered in Montreal (Quebec) Canada, from November 13 to 15, 2006, adopted the following List of Priority Activities for the period 2007-2008:

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THEME I - Preservation and presentation of cultural heritage. Supporting member states in their efforts to preserve, protect, manage, and promote cultural heritage through cooperation and capacity-building to combat pillaging, illicit trafficking, destruction, and unauthorized possession of cultural objects; promoting educational public awareness campaigns; fostering international partnerships among cultural heritage sites and agencies; and documenting and promoting research on cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible

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Regional Workshops: Experiences in Defending Cultural Heritage

Sub-regional workshops to promote cooperation and exchange of information and experiences in the protection against looting of cultural heritage. Topics to include: law enforcement, regional cooperation mechanisms, education, and technical capacity building. The first workshop, for the Central American region, will be held in Mexico during the first quarter of 2007.

Proposal presented by the United States and supported by the OAS Inter-American Committee on Culture (CIC).

Funding from the United States and the OAS

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Linking Heritage and Communities Across Borders: Sister Parks for the Americas

Conference to develop partnerships and collaboration among world-class heritage sites to encourage the development of new approaches to sustainability, including the conservation of resources; community engagement through education and outreach to support local culture, heritage and tradition; and a focus on authenticity balanced with economic opportunity for residents.

Proposal presented by the United States and supported by the OAS Inter-American Committee on Culture (CIC).

Funding to be identified.

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Knowledge-sharing workshop on community participation in preservation and conservation of cultural heritage.

A weeklong workshop to share the experience of Mexico, through its Integral Community Conservation and Development Projects, in working with communities in the recognition, preservation and safeguarding of their heritage.

Proposal presented by Mexico and supported by the OAS Inter-American Committee on Culture (CIC).

Funding to be identified.

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Other activities in Preservation and presentation of cultural heritage...

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THEME II - Culture and the enhancement of the dignity and identity of our people. Supporting member states in their efforts to strengthen the cultural content of their educational programs, particularly those directed at young people, to assist in developing cultural identity; promoting intercultural dialogue, creativity, and artistic expression; and enhancing awareness and respect for cultural and linguistic diversity

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International Seminar on Cultural Diversity: Practices and Perspectives

International seminar on cultural diversity, focusing on the exchange of successful and replicable public programs for the promotion and protection of cultural diversity, with case studies and practical experiences. The seminar will take place in Brasilia, Brazil, during the first semester of 2007.

Proposal presented by Brazil in response to a mandate of the Plan of Action of Mexico, and supported by the OAS Inter-American Committee on Culture (CIC).

Funding from Brazil, UNESCO, and the OAS

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Regional Meeting: Exploring Best or Desired Practices in the Integration of Cultural Identity and Diversity in Educational Programs

A special meeting of representatives of the culture and education sectors. Details to be developed following guidelines from the Third Ministerial Meeting in Montreal.

Proposal presented by Jamaica, work in this topic is encouraged by the OAS Inter-American Committee on Culture (CIC).

Funding to be identified.

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Other activities in Culture and the enhancement of the dignity and identity of our people

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THEME III - Culture and the creation of decent jobs and the overcoming of poverty. Supporting job creation in the cultural sector through regional forums that address the challenges and opportunities of artists, artisans, and cultural industries; horizontal cooperation pilot projects aimed at developing management and commercial skills in the culture sector; and programs and incentives to ensure an environment in which creative expression and cultural industries may flourish

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Knowledge-sharing workshop on rescue and promotion of indigenous and traditional crafts.

A one-week Workshop to share the experiences of Honduras in the rescue and promotion of the artisan, indigenous and traditional production. This activity is programmed for December 2006 and is part of the knowledge-sharing cooperation among the OAS member States through the reporting and selection of programs reported in the Portfolio of Promising Programs in Culture.

Proposal endorsed by the OAS Inter-American Committee on Culture (CIC) during its First meeting.

Funding from Honduras, and the OAS

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Culture and its contribution to the economy and development.

Following mandates from the Plan of Action of Mexico, conversations have been held with international and non-profit organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the Inter-American Foundation for Culture and Development, to explore venues of collaboration. Possible joint activities are being considered and will be presented in due course.

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Other activities in Culture and the creation of decent jobs and the overcoming of poverty

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THEME IV - Culture and the role of indigenous people. Fostering respect for cultural diversity, as well as promoting and preserving ethnic and linguistic heritage and traditions

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To be determined......

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CROSS CUTTING THEMES

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Cultural information: Supporting member states in their efforts to build capacity to measure the social and economic impact of cultural activity, and to gather, analyze and disseminate information on culture through the exchange of information and practices in cultural information systems, by supporting networks of cultural policymakers and of persons involved in the area of culture and by serving as a bridge with specialized organizations active in the field

- Meeting to review the results of the cultural information systems workshops held under OAS auspices in Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico City and Chile in 2006 and to program possible further collaboration and activities. With the participation of the host countries of the three workshops and international organizations working in the topic that participated in the workshop.

Meeting offered by Colombia. Funding for follow up activities to be identified as appropriate.

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Portfolio of Promising Programs in Culture

- Continue enhancing the Portfolio of Promising Programs in Culture so it reflects some of the most successful programs carried out in OAS member States that have the potential to be shared and transfer through knowledge-sharing workshops in the framework of the OAS.

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Others...

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
    and Status of Women
    Chisholm Pothier, Director of Communications
    613-301-4054
    or
    Canadian Heritage
    Donald Boulanger
    A/Chief, Media Relations
    819-994-9101