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Belgium/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

Flemish Community

Multilateral co-operation remains a major issue, especially in dealing with the European Union, the Council of Europe and UNESCO.

The Flemish Government established the Flemish UNESCO Commission on 14 February 2003. With this Commission, Flanders has its own organ that advises the Government on UNESCO issues and which promotes cooperation between Flanders and UNESCO.

The Flemish UNESCO Trust Fund, financed by the Flemish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, contributes to UNESCO projects, including cultural projects (900 000 EUR in 2017).

Several ministries are responsible for implementing and monitoring the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Not only are the Federal Ministries for Foreign Affairs and for Economy involved in this process, but also the Flemish Ministry for Culture and the Flemish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The Minister of Culture is involved in the implementation of the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Intangible Heritage (17/10/2003) and in the adoption of the UNESCO Convention of 1970 on the regulations against illegal export of cultural goods. The Minister of Culture is also involved in the ratification of the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe on the value of cultural heritage for society (27/10/2005).

The culture minister is also responsible for the implementation process and monitoring of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. (In 2013, Belgium was the last EU country to ratify the Convention.)

Furthermore, the Flemish Government is an active partner on several European platforms (such as the European Commission's Open Method of Coordination) and Structural Fund programmes.

French Community

In Geneva, the Wallonia-Brussels Delegation represents the French Community at the United Nations Office and specialised agencies (WCO, WHO, UNAIDS, HCR, OIM, UNESCO, UNHCHR, UNESCO, ILO, OMPI,). In Brussels, the Delegation to the European Union, the Human Rights Delegation and the Delegation to International Audiovisual Issues and AGCS-related issues complete the network.

In the area of the French language, the French Community, through the CGRI, joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Alliance Française to create the European Centre for the French language (CELF) aimed at the European public based in Brussels.

Chapter published: 16-01-2018

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