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Cultural Industries Must Be Supported

SPC Media Release

Cultural Industries, Including Traditional Knowledge Must Be Supported, Regional Meeting Told

Suva, Fiji Islands (7 December, 2010) A regional meeting on the cultural industries has been told that while creative and cultural industries contribute to economic development, the Pacific has yet to tap into this area, in spite of its real potential.

In opening the Regional Consultation on Cultural Industries, Ms Ritva Sallmen, Charge d’affaires of the European Union (EU) said: “Creativity and innovation have become important differentiators and drivers of competitiveness and economic development in many regions of the world, including the Pacific. However, an inhibiting factor lies in bridging communication gaps between those engaged in cultural activities and those responsible for local and regional economic and social development,” she said

The regional meeting, currently underway at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, is organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in conjunction with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and is funded by the European Union (EU).

Ms Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Deputy Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) said: “In the Pacific, we often do not think of cultural goods and services as an industry because culture is such an important and central part of us as individuals, communities, countries and the region.

“Presently culture is not viewed as a sector in most Pacific countries. As a result it,does not benefit from the public and private sector support and interest that are given to agriculture, fisheries, transport to name a few sectors. For instance, national Human Resource Development Plans generally do not integrate culture as an area for training and education, resulting in inadequate expertise and knowledge base for the sector and industry to develop. This is an area SPC is addressing alongside the development of the cultural industries,” she said.

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“A large section of our population engages in the production of goods and services, many of which are exchanged and others which are sold locally or overseas – what we do not know is how this is translated or translatable into an industries framework,” she said.

“An industry supposes a value chain – a systematic number of steps which are measurable, visible and actively supported by and integrated into public and private sector policy, going from creation to production to marketing, distribution and consumption”

She said that worldwide, cultural and creative industries were among the fastest-growing economic sectors saying their untapped potential could benefit Pacific economies and societies.

The meeting is also discussing a range of issues related to the development and protection of cultural industries, including copyright, policies for the protection of traditional knowledge and economic support.


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