The 2005 Convention was ratified by Uruguay in 2007 and has the force of Law. However, in order to move ahead the national debate depends on concrete steps reflecting the Convention´s precepts. Since ratification the country has gone through different stages of sector-related evaluations and assessments, which were promoted by state authorities, science and civil society alike, and which have been taking up the recitals of the Convention, while valuing the role of culture as a strategic element of development policies. As a result of this process the National Directorate of Culture has been working towards the implementation of a Convention-oriented Plan Nacional de Cultura (National Culture Plan) during the current government period (2015/2019).
The purpose of this plan is to contribute to the wellbeing of people with the help of strong incentives for, and the development of culture in Uruguay, which will eventually be formulated as a State policy to be enshrined in a General Law for Culture.
The plan will be submitted to a broad debate on the basis of three principles, all of them inspired by the Convention and its guiding principles:
-Cultural rights. Recognition of cultural diversity as support for the full realisation of human rights.
-Culture and development. Understanding of culture as an essential component of human development as established in the Hangzhou Declaration, placing it as one of the fundamental contributions to the implementation of the sustainable development goals and the post-2015 development agenda.
-The respect for diversity will be the key element to securing democratic access to culture.
As part of this process sector and area-specific discussions are promoted together with the culture departments of the municipalites and the network of directors of culture, including actions in the country´s 19 departments. From April to September 31 public hearings were organised, while 15 sectoral roundtables will be in place until the presentation of the conclusions in November 2016.
Another main objective of the current period includes the creation of a Sistema de Circulación Cultural (cultural flow system) in reply to existing inequalities concerning access to cultural goods and services in the country. The system proposes the development of regional culture corridors to enhance local features, strengthen the interaction between territories and improve technical and management capacities in less-favoured areas.
Concerning the digital environment we should like to mention the implementation of a new geo-referenced interactive platform including an interactive map, which will enable cultural actors and promoters to access and upload information about ongoing initiatives, infrastructures and activities in the country. Adding to this technological development, a new area called Sistema de Información Cultural (Culture Information System) will be set up within the DNC, which will be in charge of following up cultural policies.
As a result of the policies and actions implemented in the field of culture it has been possible to objectively improve the levels of recognition and implementation of the Convention´s principles, even though this process has not always been structured and sustained. Improving collaboration will therefore be essential to reinforcing the sector as a trustworthy and qualified counterpart, in order to enable concrete actions, which will further the objectives of the Conv.