3.4.3 European / international actors and programmes
On 11 May 2007, the Council of Europe adopted the National Report of Ukraine in the cultural field. It allows, not only the construction of a new cultural policy in Ukraine with assistance of European experts, but also active participation in different European programmes and projects. Two CoE programmes involving Ukraine are the "Kyiv Initiative" and Intercultural Cities. The latter started in 2008 in 11 pilot cities, selected among 45 European city-applicants with exchange of best practices and mapping exercises to study multicultural assets. The Ukrainian city Melitopol is among the selected cities. During 2009-2011, the Ukrainian city took part in different international and official meetings, conferences and study tours and was also a host city for other European cities on a study visit in June 2009.
The Ministerial Conference on "The Kyiv Initiative and the Eastern Partnership – cooperation and synergies" took place in Yalta (Ukraine) from 26 to 27 May 2011. It was one of the first events to take place during the Ukrainian chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The Conference, organised by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine with the support of the Council of Europe's Secretariat, discussed the role of culture and cultural heritage in fostering intercultural dialogue, social cohesion, socio-economic development of communities, regional cooperation and international partnerships. The Yalta Declaration was adopted at the Conference.
Among other things, it says: "The Kyiv Initiative has served as a good example of efficient and constructive dialogue between partner countries and civil society organisations based on multilateral cultural co-operation and can therefore be used as a solid framework for further development of multilateral cultural collaboration of its participating countries and the European Union".
On 29 and 30 March 2011 several representatives from Ukrainian cities met in Kyiv and signed the Memorandum on the Ukrainian Platform of Intercultural Cities. It was signed by the cities of Melitopol, Pryluky, Khmelnytsky, Yuzhne, Zhytomyr, and Lutsk, Nizhyn and Kherson. The participating cities set up a task force and developed an action plan. This event was organised by the Development Centre "Democracy through Culture". The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and the Council of Europe also provided crucial political support. Adil El Marouaki, founder and director of the Centro Interculturale Mondinsieme, Reggio Emilia, Italy, presented an overview of the Italian Network of Intercultural Cities' experience. On 8-9 September 2011, in the city of Yuzhne, two other cities, Pavlograd and Ivano-Frankivsk, joined the Ukrainian Platform at the international workshop organised by the Centre "Democracy through Culture". A special contribution was made by the Spanish network presenting the experience in monitoring indicators of intercultural cities.
In June 2012, the Forum of Intercultural Cities was held in the city of Lutsk representing the Ukrainian Platform which had enlarged to 11 cities (three newcomers were Pavlograd, Vinnytsia and Ivano-Frankivsk) (see also chapter 3.3).
Ukraine became a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on 12 May 1954. Ukraine's Permanent mission to UNESCO has operated since December 1962, with its headquarters in Paris. Recent years have shown active engagement of Ukrainian institutions and experts in the work of UNESCO's global projects in the fields of: development of the information society, protection of the world information and digital heritage, democratisation of cyberspace, guaranteed sustainability of the world's development, and securing tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the era of globalisation. One of the main aspects that determines Ukraine's role in UNESCO's activities is the country's participation in the work of this institution's leading initiatives. The 50th anniversary of Ukraine's membership in UNESCO was celebrated in May 2004. The jubilee stamp and 5 hryvnia metal coins were issued on that special occasion. An exhibition of modern Ukrainian Decorative Art was organised at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. One of the vivid examples of Ukraine-UNESCO cooperation is the International Scientific and Educational Centre of Information Technologies and Systems that operates in Kyiv. One of the new projects deals with establishing a model for a virtual university that will share scientific, technical and engineering knowledge developed by the institutes and universities of Central and Eastern Europe; it will be monitored Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.
Ukraine takes an active part on an official and non-official level in all cultural activities of the Black Sea countries, including festivals, meetings and joint activities such as Slavic Bazar in Vitebsk (Byelorussia).
The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine are entrusted with the responsibility for implementing and monitoring the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. During 2008-2009, the Ministry of Culture, jointly with independent institutions, organised wide public discussion of the Convention at various training events, seminars, conferences and forums as well as by internet and through the media. For example, in May 2009 the Convention was approved at the Forum of Associations of National Cultures in Ukraine. The Parliament of Ukraine ratified the Convention on 20 January 2010. It opened new opportunities for the cultural sector in Ukraine, particularly, direct participation in regional EC initiatives, for instance, the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme.
The first regional conference of the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme held a debate on culture policies in the Eastern Partnership region at a meeting in Georgia in October, 2012. The conference brought together over one hundred participants who discussed issues such as the role of culture for social, human and economic development, cultural policy reform and strategy development processes, and shared experiences and visions from the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries. The variety of contributions from the private and public sector actors as well as local authorities and civil society illustrated the complexity of the debate.