Paris, 15 April – Today, on World Art Day, UNESCO is announcing concrete action in support of artists and culture professionals worldwide via the UNESCO-Aschberg programme. Over US$ 600,000 in funds will go to the following Member States to improve the status of the artist and promote artistic freedom: Cabo Verde, Costa Rica, Gambia, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Palestine, Peru, Romania, Seychelles, Tunisia and Uganda. This funding will support the strengthening of national legislation and policies, capacity building on artistic freedom, monitoring the social and economic rights of the artists and advancing advocacy.
UNESCO received 108 project proposals following a call in September 2021. Projects were evaluated by independent experts, with priority given to Africa and Small Island Developing States, as well as projects focused on youth and gender equality.
“The artistic profession is a very unstable formal work in Madagascar,” said Andrianintsoa Faly Ratovonirina, Director of the Arts and Artistic Promotion at the Ministry of Culture of Madagascar. “A good number of renowned artists find themselves in bankruptcy at the end of their career while emerging young Malagasy talents in the creative sector often lack knowledge about cultural entrepreneurship…A new status of the artist will allow cultural entrepreneurs to better manage their careers and benefit for instance from the privileges of social security”. The UNESCO-Aschberg Programme will provide technical assistance to accompany the Ministry of Culture of Madagascar to adapt and revise its law on the status of the artist to current needs.
This new assistance to improve the status of the artist and promote artistic freedom comes as the world prepares to build back better in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The health crisis has highlighted the vulnerability of artists and the precariousness of their status. More than ever, the promotion of artists’ economic, social and cultural rights is fundamental. Taxation, social security coverage, unemployment, retirement, copyright, mobility and many other safety nets require laws and public policies that are adapted to preserve the diversity of cultural expressions.”
—Ernesto Ottone R, Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO
As underlined in UNESCO’s 2022 Global Report “Re|Shaping policies for creativity”, the pandemic exposed the sector’s pre-existing vulnerability. The cultural and creative industries, which are estimated to account for 3.1% of global GDP and 6.2% of all employment, were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with over 10 million jobs lost in 2020 alone, leaving many artists and cultural professionals without revenues and forcing cultural institutions to close their doors, sometimes permanently.
The UNESCO-Aschberg programme is currently supported by the generous voluntary contribution of the Kingdom of Norway.
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The UNESCO-Aschberg programme: Here