Since Estonia joined the EU in 2004, multilateral cultural cooperation between member states including on the international level has grown, but no systematic research on the impact of the existing networks has been completed so far.
In 2006, the Ministry of Culture joined the International Network on Cultural Policy and the CULTURELINK network. Previously, Estonia has joined networks of cultural cooperation at the European level, such as ELIA (The European League of Institutes of the Arts) and EIPCP (the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies); and on the international level – ICCM (the International Centre of Culture and Management) and IFACCA (the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies).
During the last years, Estonia has stepped up its activities related to UNESCO. The Estonian National Commission for UNESCO has been reformed efficiently and applications have been submitted for entering objects into various UNESCO programmes and lists. Estonia has also been selected, for the first time, as a member of intergovernmental committees of two conventions: the World Heritage Convention in 2009 (and previously, the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006), which allows Estonia to contribute to joint efforts, while emphasising and developing the corresponding fields at home (e.g. mapping of Estonian intangible cultural heritage and the creation of a web-based register available to the public).Estonia is renewing the Estonian Official Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Strategy to include cultural and creative industries in priority areas and also to place UNESCO activities at the heart of the Strategy. The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is implemented and monitored by the Cultural Heritage Department of the Tallinn City Government.
In 2011, Tallinn was the European Capital of Culture, along with Turku (in Finland). The active programme was launched on New Year’s Eve 2010 and ran until 22 December 2011; it involved events in various cultural institutions and the city space. Supporting creativity that would enable cultural encounters in public spaces was one of the focuses of the programme of events. The programme was received positively, and according to the foundation Tallinn2011, the events held during the year were visited by approximately 1.9 million people. Different events were also prepared in collaboration with Turku, the co-nominated Finnish city during the same year (see also chapter 2.5.1).