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WE, the Ministers responsible for Arts, Culture and Heritage from the following African Union (AU) Member States, met virtually on Thursday 25 March 2021.
The Opening Session of the Ministerial Virtual Forum was addressed by H.E. Amira Elfadil, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, by Mr. Dimitri Sanga, UNESCO Regional Director for West Africa and by H.E. Mrs. Kadiatou Konare, Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism of the Republic of Mali and AU Champion on Arts, Culture and Heritage.
The Forum was aimed at presenting, discussing and launching the AU Theme of the Year for 2021. ‘The Forum also presented an opportunity for Member States to reflect on their contributions on the implementation of the roadmap on the AU theme of the year for 2021.
RECOGNISING that the arts, culture and heritage sector can play a catalyst role for the socio-economic development and integration of the African continent and that culture constitutes the basis on which the social and heritage capital is formed. FURTHER RECOGNISING the significant contribution of culture to poverty alleviation through job creation, social inclusion women and youth empowerment.
ACKNOWLEDGING the fact that the African Union has not only included culture in all major continental development blue prints, such as the Lagos Plan of Action 1980-2000 and the African Union Agenda 2063; but also the AU has adopted various instruments pertaining to arts, culture and heritage sector including the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance (2006), the Revised African Union Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries (2008); the Statute of the African Audio-Visual and Cinema Commission (2019), and the AU Model Law on the Protection of Cultural Property and Heritage (2018).
CONGRATULATING the decision of the African Union Policy organs that declared 2021 the year of arts, culture and heritage under the specific theme: ‘Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.’ A decision which will without doubt galvanize further the sector and which draws inspiration in the African Union Agenda 2063, a shared strategic framework and blueprint for inclusive growth and sustainable development of the continent.
NOTING WITH CONCERN that the COVID-19 pandemic is still having a substantial negative impact on the arts, culture and heritage sector, leaving artists and cultural workers with fewer possibilities of producing cultural goods and services despite the many initiatives by Member States to curb the negative impact of the pandemic on the sector.
HAVING deliberated on the planned African Union activities on the Year of Arts Culture and Heritage and our roles and contributions thereof, HEREBY COMMIT TO:
PROMOTE the AU theme of the year in national activities and events related to the arts, culture and heritage sector in order to upscale this momentum and contribute to the development of this valuable and essential sector to our economies.
WORK CLOSELY with the African Union Commission (AUC) in the implementation of the roadmap of the Concept Note of the Theme of the Year for 2021 and disseminate scheduled national activities and programmes related to the theme of the year to ensure wider participation by AU Member States, Pan-African Cultural Institutions and partners.
IMPLEMENT legacy projects at the national level during the African Union year of arts, culture and heritage in order to continue developing and promoting the sector.
FAST TRACK the processes of ratification of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance (2006) at national level to ensure that the Charter enters into force and it is launched this year as part of the activities of the year of arts, culture and heritage.
ADOVATE for the implementation of the Assembly/AU/Dec. 772(XXXIII) which calls on Member States to allocate at least 1% of their national budget to the arts, culture and heritage sector by 2030.
FULLY ENGAGE on the establishment of the Great Museum of Africa (GMA) a Flagship Project of the AU Agenda 2063 and PARTICIPATE in the launch and Media Event of the GMA Temporary Site to be held in Algiers, Algeria from 24 to 25 May 2021.
ADVOCATE for the ratification of the Statute of the African Audio-Visual and Cinema Commission (AACC) and SUPPORT the Republic of Kenya on the operationalization of the Temporary Secretariat of the AACC to boost the development of the creative industry of audiovisual and cinema on the continent.
CONTINUE implementing interactive and innovative measures and programmes in the arts, culture and heritage sector to enable that cultural workers can produce cultural goods and services to curb the impact and effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the sector.
REQUEST the AU Commission to include activities related to the youth, diaspora and innovation on the roadmap of the AU Theme of the Year for 2021 in order to unleash their potential contribution to the sector.
COMMIT to establish national mechanisms and initiate negotiations for the restitution/return of cultural property and heritage illicitly stolen and trafficked from the continent using the AU Model Law on the Protection of Cultural Property (2018), the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) and the UNDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (1995) as legislative frameworks.
EXPRESS gratitude to the African Union Commission (AUC) for having organized the 2nd Virtual Forum of Ministers responsible for Arts, Culture and Heritage which was very informative and enable us to establish synergies in the implementation of the roadmap on the theme of the year for 2021.
Done on the 25th Day of March 2021
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union (AU).