COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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With the new political administration taking office in 2014, the development of a first cultural policy concept for Georgia has been reinitiated.

 

The Government of Georgia is expected to adopt the long-term Strategy for Culture 2025 and the first Action Plan 2016/2017 for implementing the strategy by the end of 2015.

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Georgia/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.3 Cultural policy objectives

The priorities of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia for 2011-2014 are:

  • Priority 1: Promotion of the art education system;
  • Priority 2: Building of a positive image of Georgia worldwide;
  • Priority 3: Promotion of the cultural heritage and improvement of the museum system; and
  • Priority 4: Promotion of various art fields.

After the Russia-Georgia military conflict in 2008, the cultural policy of the separatist governments in the breakaway "independent" republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has been openly nationalistic and anti-Georgian. In particular, this relates to the immovable monuments of cultural heritage (see chapter 4.2.2) and teaching and use of the Georgian language (see  chapter 4.2.5). The Georgian state has opposed this policy using legal measures (Law on Occupied Territories, see chapter 5) and financial tools (financing of programmes for reintegration and integration, promotion of culture of national minorities, see chapter 4).

Special attention will be paid, in the joint strategic priorities of the Ministries of Culture and Monument Protection and Internal Affairs of Georgia for 2011-2014, to the active involvement of UNESCO in the problems of protection of cultural heritage and the education sphere in the Georgian territories occupied by Russia.

On 15 October 2010, the new Constitution of Georgia was adopted, which changes the system from a presidential state model to a mixed parliamentary-presidential model. Consequently, the powers of the prime minister and the Parliament were strengthened and the presidential functions have diminished. The Constitution takes effect step by step: the section regarding judicial power has been put into force already, while the section regarding the functions of the prime minister, parliament and president will take effect after the next parliamentary and presidential elections (end of 2012, 2013).

In 2011, in the context of the adoption of the new Constitution and the declaration of the entrepreneurial model of cultural policy, the theme of correlating culture and the economy is emphasised:

  • employment in the culture sphere;
  • support for investment and tourism; and
  • development and support of the "creative industries" (the sphere of culture is defined as the creative industry and is consequently considered as one sector of the economy).

After the 2012 Parliamentary and 2013 Presidential Elections, the government developed the strategic document - Main Data and Trends of the Country for 2013-2016, Tbilisi, 2013 and the governmental programme - For a Strong, Democratic and United Georgia. They determine the approaches to culture and its role in state building.

As a result of the activities to be implemented in the cultural sphere Georgia will become a worthy member of the contemporary world. This goal is served by the elaboration of the strategic plan of culture development where principles to be taken into consideration include: the free activity of Georgian citizens in the cultural sphere and ensuring non-interference of the government in the creative process.

Sole decisions on the part of the authorities will be excluded and the integration of the Georgian cultural space into the world cultural space will be promoted. Cultural heritage will be protected according to worldwide recognised standards. The rehabilitation process will be conducted with due account to international standards, recommendations of UNESCO and other international organisations.

Emergency measures will be implemented for protection of the Georgian language as the official language. The state will take care of the official language in order to guarantee its constitutional status. Drafting of the Law on the Official (National) Language is in process and will be adopted during 2015.

In 2013 Georgia made a significant step towards European integration: on 29 November in Vilnius, at the Eastern Partnership Summit, Georgia initialled the EU Association Agreement. The Association Agreement will replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) signed in 1996 and will create a new legal framework of cooperation between Georgia and the EU. Compared with the PCA, the Association Agreement is a comprehensive and politically and inclusively stronger document which raises the cooperation between Georgian and EU in all priority directions to a totally new level.

Throughout the year 2013, the government of Georgia developed various strategic documents related to the Association Agreement; the most significant document is the Georgia 2020 Project for the social-economic development strategy of the country presented in November 2013, where the country's ambition to be a country built on European values and to accomplish political and economic integration with European was declared. Other documents also include the main principles of the strategy for decentralisation of the government of Georgia and self-government development for 2013-2014, the National Security Concept of Georgia and the Strategy of the Government of Georgia on communication and information on European integration issues for 2014-2017.

In this context the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia began work on its own strategic document. Under Order N03/121 of the Ministry of 29 July 2013 an ad hoc Commission for development of cultural policy and strategy was established.

The Commission has developed the first strategic document – the project of Cultural Policy Concept for the Transitional Period (2014-2016) which gives top priority to interdisciplinary research. According to the project, the concept of Georgian cultural policy is based on universally recognised principles and the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Paris, 20 October, 2005. Based on this concept, a unified strategy for cultural policy and a national plan of action as well as strategies and plans for the arts for the next period will be created.

The draft Concept of Cultural Policy was developed by seven local experts and presented to the Ministry. The document is the first of its kind in Georgia and, while stating the cultural values, lays out propositions for the main directions for the development of culture in Georgia. The expert panel developed the concept based on questionnaires, "round tables", and consultations with stakeholders in the cultural sectors. However, in early 2014 the top leaders of the Ministry were replaced and work on the cultural policy concept was suspended and the draft document was not adopted on the official level (see also http://www.euroeastculture.eu/struct_file.php?id_a=879).

The process of cultural policy development has been characterised by a series of PR actions.

On 9 July 2014 a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia and 31 nongovernmental organisations. The Memorandum implies cooperation with nongovernmental organisations in the process of development of the cultural policy document.

Since the new minister and top management took office in 2014, the development of a cultural policy concept for Georgia has been newly initiated. The draft concept of 2013 serves as one of the inputs to this process. The new overture implies the process of development of a comprehensive strategy that will involve national and local authorities and legal entities as well as civil society. It aims for outcomes that will be approved by the government but to a large extent will be adopted by the cultural sector.

An EU cultural policy expert provided by the Regional Monitoring and Capacity Building Unit (RMCBU) under the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme supports and advises the ministry and the cultural sector in this process

A conference devoted to the development of the natural cultural strategy – "The Georgian Cultural Strategy: Human, Processes, Priorities" was held on 30 January 2015. This conference became a new phase in the development of the cultural policy strategy.

The Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia has launched a cultural strategy elaboration process. The Government of Georgia is expected by the end of 2015 to adopt the long-term Strategy for Culture 2025 and the first Action Plan 2016/2017 for implementing the strategy. The aim of Culture 2025 is to set a long‐term vision for culture and creativity for Georgia that highlig

hts the intrinsic value of culture as well as the potential that culture plays in developing the economy, strengthening identity and enhancing social cohesion. The aim of the Action Plan is to identify short‐term priorities and key activities to revive the cultural and creative sectors and unleash the potential for rebuilding a coherent society by suggesting concrete and necessary cultural policy reforms.

To foster good cultural governance, the Culture 2025 elaboration process has been established on the principles of transparency and inclusiveness. The drafting of the strategy will be conducted in a participatory manner with the collaboration of professionals representing Georgian cultural and creative sectors (the arts, heritage and creative industries).

To coordinate the strategy elaboration and drafting process, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection establishes a Culture Strategy Coordination Group that is composed of professionals from the Georgian cultural and creative sectors. The Coordination Group will be chaired by the Head of the Culture Policy Unit of the Ministry of Culture.

For the professionals from the cultural and creative sectors, activity within the Coordination Group is a voluntary engagement in the interest of developing Georgian culture.


Chapter published: 20-01-2016

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