Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, has shown a growing commitment to its cultural and creative industries. To strengthen this effort, the country has partnered with UNESCO for the project “Reshaping Cultural Policies for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” funded by Sweden. At the heart of the project is a cultural policy monitoring with an active participation of civil society actors and an assessment of culture’s role on sustainable development.
Recent cultural governance efforts in Mauritius include a White Paper on Arts and Culture entitled Creative Mauritius– Vision 2025, which recognises the potential of the culture and creative industries to boost the economy and create jobs in a sustainable manner. A National Arts Fund was recently set up with the aim to nurture new talents, reinforce the creative value chain, and research the contribution of the arts to society. The Fund has established four grants: the Emerging Talents Grant, the Production Grant, the Capacity-building Grant and the Research Grant.
Additionally, a draft legislation on the Status of the Artist has been developed in consultation with multiple ministries, non-governmental actors and cultural workers. This activity was supported by UNESCO-Aschberg programme for Artists and Cultural Professionals, which promotes artistic freedom and enhanced artists’ rights in society.
The participatory monitoring of cultural policies, which will lead to the submission of Mauritius’ first Quadrennial Periodic Report, presents a timely opportunity for the country to review its cultural policies and innovative practices, as well as to start a dialogue between government entities and civil society.
A three day training workshop was organized by UNESCO and the Ministry of Arts and Culture for participants from the national team and key stakeholders in order to present the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, promote the participatory policy monitoring process, and introduce the form to be filled out for the quadrennial periodic report (QPR), an obligatory report submitted by Parties to UNESCO’s 2005 Convention every four years.
Mauritius’ QPR will provide a state of the art of the implementation of the 2005 Convention’s Goals and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by both national authorities and civil society organisations, as well as recommendations for future policy action to address the challenges and priorities identified by the National team.
Over 50 cultural policymakers from the Ministry of Art and Culture, creative workers, artists, civil society and media participated in the three-day training and awareness-raising workshop, led by Prof. Vesna Copic from UNESCO’s Expert Facility together with Dr Hans Lallah Ramduth, a national expert, both of whom were engaged by UNESCO to lead the national team in elaborating Mauritius first national periodic report in a participatory manner.