Pacific culture Ministers have called for ongoing support for the region’s cultural sector and for greater collaboration, experience sharing and use of innovative approaches to fund culture, such as development levies and tax incentives.
Meeting in the wings of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam, the Ministers were passionate about the value of culture in the Pacific, underscoring that culture is among the Pacific region’s most valuable resources, along with its people and the environment.
The Third Pacific Ministers for Culture meeting was officially opened by Guam’s Governor Eddie Baza Calvo who noted the need to perpetuate and preserve Pacific cultures.
“We are now looking at these [cultural] skills again because we understand that traditional practices can help promote entrepreneurship, sustainable development and economic growth,” Governor Calvo said.
During the meeting, convened by the Pacific Community (SPC), the Ministers discussed the importance of support from SPC, UNESCO, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, University of the South Pacific (USP) and other partners for advancing cultural development in the region.
They notably supported USP’s development of a Professional Certificate in Heritage Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Pacific Studies, Heritage and Arts, and agreed to pursue scholarships for arts and culture sector studies.
During discussions surrounding the mid-term review of the Regional Cultural Strategy: Investing in Pacific Cultures 2010-2020, the Ministers decided to accelerate implementation through sub-regional working groups and to profile culture at the Micronesian Leaders’ Summit and the Polynesian Leaders’ Group.
Another focus area was the need for increased human resource capacity in the culture sector.
Importantly, the Ministers committed to meet every two years, convening next in 2018, rather than convening every four years during the Festival of Pacific Arts.
The meeting ended with the Ministers declaring their commitment to work together for culture sector prioritisation and development.
They agreed to increase opportunities for collaboration, knowledge exchange and working jointly with SPC – the Festival custodian – and other partners.
Performers backstage at the opening ceremony of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts
Image courtesy: Masako Watanabe, @Masako2W