Efforts and Initiatives to Protect and Promote Cultural Rights

Dónde
Noruega
When
2020
Quién
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Describe the main features of the policy/measure: 

As highlighted in the Norwegian Government's political platform and the White Paper The Power of Culture - Cultural Policy for the Future (Meld. St. 8 (2018-2019)), art and other forms of cultural expressions have the power to build societies.

Cultural activities and civil society are crucial for the development of societies and for ensuring an enlightened public debate. Art and culture are an integral part of any democratic and free society. A vibrant, diverse cultural sector is dependent on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and human creativity. It is important that cultural activities are varied and relevant to all segments of society. For all these reasons, it is vital to ensure the freedom to create and enjoy art and other forms of cultural expression.

Cultural rights and artistic freedom of expression are under pressure. People are being denied the right to take part in cultural activities for political reasons, or on grounds of religion or tradition. The work of artists is being censored and artists are being persecuted. Women are particularly vulnerable.

Norway's priorities in this regard are fostering robust, independent cultural sectors in developing countries is a key objective of the Government's development policy. Promoting cultural rights and protecting cultural heritage, including world heritage, are key priorities. These efforts are an integral part of Norway's global engagement to promote human rights, including freedom of expression.

The Norwegian Government provides the following:

* support for international and national civil society organisations that work to promote artistic freedom of expression;
* support for the protection of artists who have fled their homes, for example through the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) and SafeMUSE;
* support for organisations and groups that are working to improve conditions for artists and cultural workers by providing training at all levels;
* support for UNESCO's work to strengthen artistic freedom; and
* support for the mandate of UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights through the OHCHR Secretariat in Geneva.

Both tangible and intangible cultural heritage form part of the individual and collective memories that are passed down from generation to generation. We often say that we understand the present through the recorded past, including material from archives, museums and libraries. The collective memory of a social group also includes skills that are learned from earlier generations, such as handicrafts, songs and dances, food traditions and rituals, and all the other things we call our intangible cultural heritage. Cultural heritage is an important component of people's sense of identity and belonging. It forms part of the basis for social and political development. Access to history and cultural heritage is a democratic right, as set out in the White Paper The Power of Culture - Cultural Policy for the Future (Meld. St. 8 (2018-2019)).

What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?: 

Increased understanding and acceptance of the actual situation globally when it comes to artistic freedom on all levels: for the international community (the UN system), through capacity building for states parties on the implementation of the 2005 Convention (support to UNESCO's Aschberg Programme).

For civil society organisations, artists and audiences: more information shared and capacity-building and safeguarding of artists through the important work of civil society and rights organisations such as Freemuse, Safemuse and ICORN, mobility schemes for artists such as AMA and ASEF, and through support to independent cultural funds such as AFAC and the Palestinian Culture Fund.

In spite of increased pressure on cultural rights/artistic freedom, work at all levels gets more consolidated and partnerships across levels are more visible.

Support to emergency efforts to safeguard and restore damage of cultural heritage globally through the support to Heritage Emergency Fund. Emergencies under the Fund serves all six UNESCO cultural conventions.

Financial resources allocated to the policy/measure in USD: 

100 million Norwegian Kroner (NOK)

Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure: 
Name of partnerType of entity
Freemuse
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Safemuse
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
ICORN
Has the implementation of the policy/measure been evaluated?: 
NO