Noura Al Kaabi reiterates importance of cultural policy in growth of creative economy at UNESCO conference

ABU DHABI, The Ministry of Culture and Youth participated in the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development – MONDIACULT 2022, which took place from 28th-30th September 2022 in Mexico.

A delegation headed by Salem Al Qasimi, Permanent Delegate of the UAE to UNESCO, represented the UAE at the conference, while Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, participated via video conference.

Al Kaabi delivered a Thematic Session Statement at a session on the Future of the Creative Economy on 29th September and spoke extensively about the growing importance of the creative economy in a post-pandemic world shedding light on how the UAE was leveraging the cultural and creative industries to diversify its economy.

“The UAE has recognised the growing power of the cultural and creative industries within the wider economy, as well as its vulnerability to unpredictable events,” she said.

“The CCI contribute to 3.5 percent of the UAE’s GDP and are projected to grow to 5 percent by 2031. Within this context, we moved quickly to adapt our strategy and policy work in this area accordingly, both on a federal and local level. The UAE Culture Agenda 2031 was launched in 2018, as the first nationwide strategy unifying the efforts of the national culture sector,” Al Kaabi added.

Speaking about the impact of the pandemic and how the CCI would realign to the transformations, she said that although the COVID-19 pandemic was detrimental to the CCI sector, the UAE was quick to adapt to the situation by appropriate policy intervention.

“We launched the National Creative Relief Fund to mitigate the pandemic’s financial impact by offering relief packages to creative practitioners and SMEs. Our cultural operators stepped in to provide economic catalysts, digital activations, and free access to knowledge and content to sustain the creative spirit. We also boosted the Golden Visa Scheme to sustain the livelihoods of creative practitioners in the UAE.”

Speaking about strengthening and streamlining the creative economy, Al Kaabi touched upon the Creative UAE strategy and the Framework for Culture and Arts Education presented by the UAE at the 211th session of the Executive Board of UNESCO.

“In 2021, the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, we launched a 10-year National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries, which aims to foster a robust creative ecosystem within the national economy. Globally, we were driven to present two resolutions to UNESCO’s Executive Board, one focusing on Culture and Arts Education, and the other on Consolidating Action for the Creative Economy.”

Stressing the UAE’s future-focused approach, she added, “The UAE will continue to develop future-forward policy support, and appropriate funding mechanisms to sustain the CCI sector through institutional collaboration and interdisciplinary knowledge.”

Al Kaabi wrapped up the session by saying that stakeholders should jointly resolve to design policy and partnerships based on a spirit of collaboration and openness, one that can lift the communities in the present and the future.

The three-day international conference hosted a number of side events on mobilising cultural policies to tackle global challenges for a more robust and resilient cultural sector.

Ebtesam Saif Al Zaabi, International Organisations Expert, United Arab Emirates National Commission for Education, Culture and Science (UAE NATCOM), represented the UAE in a panel discussion entitled ‘Libraries Accelerating Education-Culture Linkages: Partnering to Empower the Cultural Sector’.

She spoke in detail about the UAE’s inimitable network of libraries and how it was a key contributor in the nation’s drive towards a knowledge-based economy. She also referred to the UAE-led Framework for Culture and Arts Education and how libraries were intrinsic to it for their role in fostering life-long education.

Source: Emirates News Agency