The United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) says the Caribbean cultural sector has received “significant funding from the European Union (EU) for a multi-million-dollar project that will benefit CARICOM countries.
It says the support has also come from the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACP), under the OACP-EU 11th EDF Culture Program, “as creatives seek to recover from the adverse effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”
UNESCO said the virtual launch is set for April 21 and it has collaborated with the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat and the University of the West Indies (UWI) to implement the project, “Creative Caribbean – An Ecosystem of ‘Play’ for Growth and Development”, to the tune of three million Euros (One Euro=US$1.29).
“The three-year project that will be implemented in 15 Caribbean countries aims to develop a robust creative economy in the region by strengthening the enabling environment and providing grant support for industry and training initiatives,” UNESCO said.
It said the Creative and Cultural Industries (CCIs) targeted for grant support include music, fashion, festivals, film, animation and new media, visual and performing arts, among other areas of entertainment – “a sector that provides millions in revenue and in which thousands of people find full-time and part-time work.”
UNESCO said the project is expected to strengthen research and data collection on CCIs “to facilitate market access opportunities, to support the development of national artists registries, cultural policies and creative industry development acts to incentivize the sector.”
It will also provide grants to creative and cultural practitioners to grow more globally competitive businesses and enhance their professional development.
“It is an unquestionable fact that the impact of COVID-19 on the cultural and creative sectors was tremendously significant, yet CCIs play a notable role in the economy and recovery from the pandemic,” said Saadia Sanchez-Vegas, director and representative of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean.
“The Creative Caribbean project seeks to shift the paradigm from ‘the struggling artist’ to creating an enabling environment where creatives are incentivized to produce and thrive and become a key driver of sustainable development in the region,” Sanchez-Vegas added.
UNESCO said artistes and cultural entrepreneurs from the following countries are eligible to apply for grant support under this landmark project: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.