Lithuania joined UNESCO in 1991. In 1992, the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO was established and the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Lithuania to UNESCO in 1993. The Secretariat of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO serves the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO and supports implementation of its decisions. The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania coordinates the implementation of the UNESCO conventions and decisions (see the list of UNESCO conventions ratified by Lithuania in chapter 4.2.1).
Lithuania became a member of the Council of Europe on 14 March 1993. In 2019, Lithuania participated in the following cultural initiatives of the Council of Europe: EURIMAGES – European Cinema Support Fund, national coordinator is Lithuanian Film Centre; European Audiovisual Observatory, national coordinator is Lithuanian Film Centre; HEREIN: Observatory on policies and values of the European heritage, national coordinator is Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture; European Heritage Days, national coordinator is Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture; and European Cultural Routes, national coordinator is Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture.
Lithuania became a member state of European Union in 2004. In 2019, Lithuania has participated in the Creative Europe (2014-2020) and Horizon 2020 Programmes. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (Technology and Innovation Division) coordinated the network of Horizon 2020 National Contact Points in Lithuania. The activity of the National Contact Points was carried out by Research Council of Lithuania (LMT), Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA), Lithuanian Academy of Sciences (LMA) and Lithuanian Innovation Centre (LIC). Participation of Lithuania in the Creative Europe Programme was coordinated by the Lithuanian Culture Institute that was responsible for CULTURE sub-programme, and the Lithuanian Film Centre that was responsible for MEDIA sub-programme.
Lithuania takes part in the Council of the Baltic Sea States, established in 1992. The Council is an overall political forum for regional cooperation. It aims to develop and foster the concept of Baltic Sea Region identity and a sense of belonging to the Baltic Sea Region through engagement, dialogue, people-to-people contacts, macro-regional networks and multilevel governance. To this end, several activities, programmes and networks are operational within the priority. This includes the Baltic Sea Monitoring Group on Heritage Cooperation, focusing on preservation of the common heritage in the Baltic Sea States, and specifically on building preservation and maintenance in practice, underwater heritage, coastal culture and maritime heritage, and sustainable historic towns. The national coordinator of the project is the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of the Culture of the Republic of Lithuania.
In 1991, the Ministries of Culture of the Baltic Sea Region created the Ars Baltica network that was aimed at encouraging cultural collaboration. Ars Baltica supports cultural cooperation within the Baltic Sea Region and beyond, advocates for the significance of arts and culture on the political level and promotes cultural life around the Baltic Sea. It is a cultural framework, gathering and offering information on different aspects within the arts and culture sector through network building and by supporting the implementation of multilateral cultural projects.
In 1991, the Baltic countries started to cooperate with the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania was established in 1991. The Office promotes Nordic culture in Lithuania and encourages Nordic-Lithuanian cultural cooperation. Since 2009, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture participates in the Nordic-Baltic Cultural Mobility Programme, which is coordinated by the Nordic Council of Ministers and consists of 3 modules: networking, art residencies and artist mobility.
Lithuania also cooperates with the two other Baltic States. Cooperation between the three Baltic States is based on the trilateral Treaty on Concord and Cooperation, signed on September 12, 1934 in Geneva. The Declaration on Unity and Cooperation, signed on May 12, 1990 in Tallinn, in full scope restored the cooperation between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Pursuant to the Geneva Treaty the Baltic Council was established in 1990. The Baltic Council of Ministers – the institution of trilateral intergovernmental cooperation was established at the meeting of Baltic Prime Ministers on the 13th of June 1994.
Within the framework of Baltic co-operation, active dialogue is on-going at the level of Presidents, Speakers of Parliaments, Heads of Government, Ministers and experts. Baltic Parliamentary Cooperation takes place in the Baltic Assembly, which was established on November 8, 1991. While intergovernmental co-operation takes place in the Baltic Council of Ministers, founded on 13 June 1994. The Baltic Assembly is a regional organisation that promotes intergovernmental cooperation between Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It attempts to find a common position in relation to many international issues, including economic, political and cultural issues. Since 1993, the Baltic Assembly annually awards prize for achievements in literature, arts, and science.
Trilateral cooperation in the field of culture is coordinated by the Baltic Cultural Committee of senior officials, who meet annually to discuss cooperation issues. Cultural cooperation guidelines are provided by the Programme of Cultural Cooperation, signed between all three Ministries of Culture in 1994. The programme is regularly renewed. The current programme is designed for the period 2019-2022 and proposes to continue such long-term joint projects as Baltic Museology Summer School and the international chamber orchestra of three Baltic States Kremerata Baltica, and to foster collaboration with Baltic Film and Media School, Baltic Drama Forum, Baltic Dance Platform, Baltic Architects’ Unions Association etc.
As of 2019, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture participates in the Baltic Culture Fund programme. The main goal of the Baltic Culture Fund, founded on 8 July 2018 on the basis of Agreement between the Ministries of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Republic of Estonia and Republic of Latvia on the Establishment of the Baltic Culture Fund, is to promote cultural cooperation between the Baltic countries and strengthen the internationalisation of Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian culture through joint cultural projects and events. Grants are awarded annually. The Fund is administered by national cultural endowments on a three-year rotation basis; the Cultural Endowment of Estonia is the first to coordinate the Fund’s activities from 2019 to 2021. Each Baltic country contributes 100 000 EUR to the Fund annually. The Fund also accepts donations.