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Spain/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

The cultural activities related to international bodies range from participation in international meetings called by the organisations of which Spain is a member, to the evaluation and follow-up of the various agreements, programmes and activities, in the framework of these international bodies.

In the case of the European Union, of which Spain has been a member since 1986, the current Sub Secretariat for Education, Culture and Sport performs the following tasks through its Sub Directorate-General for International Cooperation: coordination and follow-up of the actions of the Ministry related to the European Union and to other agencies and international authorities in the field of culture and, in particular, assistance to the Minister in the preparation of meetings of the Council of the European Union; coordination and, where appropriate, management of treaties, conventions and programmes of international cooperation (of bilateral or multilateral character) in those fields that affect the Ministry; and advice on Spanish participation in international organisations.

Spain participates actively in the Creative Europe (2014-2020) and Horizon 2020 Programmes. The cultural and scientific institutions have also participated in former programmes, such as MEDIA Plus (2001-2006), MEDIA (2007-2013), EURIMAGES, European Film Promotion and the European Audiovisual Observatory in the cinema and audiovisual sector. Participation has also been remarkable in the Culture Programme (2007-2013), as well as in the former Framework Programmes, where the Spanish agents have contributed to research on cultural policies and the challenges of culture in the age of communication and digitisation.

Creative Europe is nowadays the most relevant European source of funding for cultural agents. It merged the areas of the former MEDIA and Culture programmes, and includes a specific cross-sectoral strand that includes a Guarantee Facility and transnational cooperation, along with other initiatives such as the European Capital of Culture, the European Heritage Days, and the European Prizes (architecture, literature, border breakers, media and heritage).

Access to information on the programmes of the European Union takes place through the Creative Europe Desk-Culture of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, which was created at the request of the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission. Media Desk Spain, a cultural foundation established by the Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute (ICAA), the Audiovisual Producers' Rights Management Association (EGEDA) and the Spanish Federation of Audiovisual Producers (FAPAE), is the office in Spain to access information on media contents. The aim of the foundation is to contribute to the development of the cinema, audiovisual and multimedia industry, promoting the dissemination of the MEDIA programme (now integrated in Creative Europe). In addition, there are MEDIA Antennas in Catalonia (Barcelona), the Basque Country (Donostia / San Sebastián) and Andalusia (Seville).

Spain is also an eligible country for the EEA-Grants in cultural and natural heritage, and diversity in culture and arts.

As regards the Council of Europe, of which Spain has been a member since 1977, the Sub Directorate-General of International Cooperation, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, is also responsible for the follow-up and organisation of Spain's participation in the events that the Council of Europe sponsors, either directly or indirectly. For instance, Spain participates with this profile in the Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends and the city of Donostia / San Sebastián is a member of the Network of Intercultural Cities. Spain widely participates in the European Heritage Days and in the European Cultural Routes.

Spain's cultural cooperation with UNESCO, the Organisation of Education, Science and Culture, of which Spain has been a member since 1953, involves the following tasks: coordination and liaison between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, the Spanish Embassy at UNESCO and UNESCO itself, with regard to the development of UNESCO's Conventions and Recommendations; preparation of the participation of the Ministry in the General Conference and the Inter-governmental Conferences, expert committees and other meetings at UNESCO; coordination and liaison between the National Cooperation Commission and UNESCO, and participation in, and follow-up and dissemination of, UNESCO's activities. In 2002, a cooperation agreement on cultural heritage was signed. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport is currently responsible for implementing the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. On 28 April 2006, the government approved the text of the Convention and presented it to the Parliament for ratification. The instrument of ratification was deposited on 18 December 2006. On the 25th October 2006, it was approved and ratified by the King of Spain, one month later of being approved by the Senate.

In the case of the Organisation of Iberoamerican States for the Education, Science and Culture (OEI), of which Spain has been a member since 1949, the Sub Secretariat for Education, Culture and Sport, through its Sub Directorate-General for International Cooperation, coordinates the participation of the Ministry at the Iberoamerican Conferences of the Ministers of Culture, in the framework of the Iberoamerican Summits. In 2006, during the XVI Summit, the Cultural Charter for Iberoamerica was adopted. Since 2008, as part of the development of the Charter, the Iberoamerican Cultural Conferences are held. In 2014, the XXIV Summit was organised in Veracruz (Mexico), under the theme "Education, Innovation and Culture". In the final declaration, the leaders engaged in strengthening the conference and enhancing Iberoamerican cooperation. Important agreements were reached to implement the Digital Culture Agenda, to design and implement a plan to enhance cultural and creative industries, to promote the elaboration of "Cultural Satellite Accounts", and to design a plan to recognise, care and safeguard the cultural heritage.

The MARCO programmes organised by the current Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the OEI, which are currently underway, cover practically all of the cultural sectors. In the area of books, archives and libraries, there are the ABINIA (to develop national libraries in Iberoamerican countries), IBERARCHIVOS-ADAI Programme (to develop Iberoamerican archives and the formation of a Network of Iberoamerican Archives) and RILVI (to develop an integrated book repertoire for sale in Iberoamerican countries). In all these MARCO programmes (ABINIA, ADAI and RILVI), the cultural sectors are promoted via grants for projects and the training of specialists. In the cinema and audiovisual sector, the most important programme is IBERMEDIA, which covers 19 countries and aims to establish an Iberoamerican audiovisual space by promoting the co-production and distribution of cinema and TV films in Spanish and Portuguese. In the field of music, the support programme for the establishment of an Iberoamerican musical space, IBERORQUESTAS JUVENILES, was born in 2007 as a multilateral project of technical and financial cooperation aimed at promoting musical development, especially among children and adolescents who are in situations of social risk. More recently, in November 2011, the IBERMÚSICAS Programme was approved with the aim of promoting the Iberoamerican cultural diversity in this area of the arts. IBERMUSEOS addresses the area of fine arts and cultural assets. It was launched in April 2009 with the participation of 10 Iberoamerican countries. The aim was to create multilateral cooperation mechanisms and to undertake joint actions in the field of museums and museology in Iberoamerican countries. In addition, the programme strengthens the relationship between public and private institutions and Latin American museum professionals, and promotes heritage protection and management and the exchange of practical experiences. In the sector of performing arts, the IBERESCENA programme aims to create and consolidate a theatre and dance network in its member states, in the Spanish-speaking countries, via grants, subsidies and other means. In the area of intellectual property, the cooperation activities have centred fundamentally on training in copyright and similar rights, through the FIPI programme, sponsored by the Iberoamerican General Secretariat. Finally, the IBERBIBLIOTECAS programme has been launched with the aim of contributing to the creation of an Iberoamerican network of cooperation in the field of public libraries.

Since 1982, Spain has also been a signatory to the Andrés Bello Agreement, an intergovernmental organisation that works to achieve the educational, scientific and cultural integration of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Venezuela. The area of culture offers a number of programmes, notably We are Heritage, which aims to conceptualise, evaluate and disseminate natural heritage, and the Culture and Economy Observatory.

Spain is also a member of the Regional Centre for Book Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLALC), an intergovernmental organisation of Ibero-America, under the auspices of UNESCO, which works towards the development and integration of the region through the construction of reading societies.

Chapter published: 24-06-2015

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