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Belgium/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

Flemish Community

Multilateral co-operation remains a major issue, especially in dealing with the European Union, the Council of Europe, UNESCO and informal networks like the International Network on Cultural Policy.

The Flemish UNESCO Trust Fund, financed by the Flemish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, contributes to UNESCO projects, including cultural projects. In some cases, extra money was provided, as was the case for the reconstruction of a museum in Iraq.

Several ministries are responsible for implementing and monitoring the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Not only are the Federal Ministries for Foreign Affairs and for the Economy involved in this process, but also the Flemish Ministry for Culture and the Flemish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The Minister of Culture is involved in the implementation of the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Intangible Heritage (17/10/2003) and in the adoption of the UNESCO Convention of 1970 on the regulations against illegal export of cultural goods. The Minister of Culture is also involved in the ratification of the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe on the value of cultural heritage for society (27/10/2005).

The culture minister is also responsible for the implementation process and monitoring of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. (Since August 2010, Belgium is the only EU country that has not yet ratified the Convention, because Flanders and the federal government have not yet completed the approval process.) Still, the concordance of all Flemish international cultural cooperation protocols with the Convention is currently being monitored. The ratification of the Convention itself should be finalized by the end of 2012.

Furthermore, the Flemish Government is an active partner on several European platforms (such as the European Commission's Open Method of Coordination) and Structural Fund programmes (e.g. the Toolquiz project about capacity building vis-à-vis the creative industries).

French Community

In Geneva, the Wallonia-Brussels Delegation represents the French Community at the United Nations Office and specialised agencies (WCO, WHO, UNAIDS, HCR, OIM, UNESCO, UNHCHR, UNESCO, ILO, OMPI,). In Brussels, the Delegation to the European Union, the Human Rights Delegation and the Delegation to International Audiovisual Issues and AGCS-related issues complete the network.

In the area of the French language, the French Community, through the CGRI, joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Alliance Française to create the European Centre for the French language (CELF) aimed at the European public based in Brussels.

Chapter published: 09-03-2012

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