National Stakeholder Forum
Strengthening The Legal And Policy Framework For Realizing The Full Potentials Of Culture And The Cultural Industries In National Development: Towards A New Cultural Policy For The Gambia
The National Centre for Arts and Culture has received assistance from UNESCO under the Participation Programme (2016-2017) to initiate a process to review and reposition The Gambia’s Cultural Policy which was adopted in 1988 and is in dire need of introspection and update. The project is titled: ‘Strengthening the Legal and Policy Framework for Realizing the Potentials of Culture and the Cultural Industries in National Development’. The main objective is to review the 1988 policy, ascertain its weaknesses and develop a new and more proactive cultural policy to guide the process of national development.
The project was implemented through a consultative process with the participation of government agencies and stakeholders outside government, including local communities, civil society and actors in the arts, culture and tourism industries. The process included meetings and discussions with public, private and institutional stakeholders, field visits to heritage resources in the urban and rural areas, focus group discussions and interviews with knowledgeable individuals; culminated in a two-day National Stakeholder Forum (7th – 8th July, 2017) which brought together representatives of the various stakeholder groupings in a working session to provide direction for the new policy.
In opening the meeting NCAC Director General Mr. Baba Ceesay said the forum was a continuation and part of the consultation process to develop a new cultural policy, almost three decades since the NCAC last stakeholders meeting. Mr Ceesay noted that the policy recommendations are not a ‘wish list’ and that culture contributes to 17% of The Gambia’s GDP. According to Mr. Ceesay Television and ICT have tremendous indications for arts and culture and the Gambia needs to find ways to take advantage and benefit for these media resources and tools.
The Chairman of the NCAC, Mr. Oreme Joiner briefly welcomed all stakeholders and acknowledged Dr George Abungu, the consultant from Kenya who will help draft the Policy and expressed appreciation for his presence and expertise.
Hon. Demba Jawo representing The Minister of Tourism and Culture noted among other points in his speech:
- The outdated cultural policy of 1988 can no longer inform Gambia’s current culture and arts policy;
- Dynamism is needed hence, the 1988 policy is certainly archaic
- The review of the 1988 policy to develop a more interactive cultural policy
- He thanked UNESCO for supporting and a new cultural policy.
The UNESCO representative Mr. Jarju said for Gambia to develop Gambia must open as a place of global citizens and the education sector is pivotal in this role. He stressed the need to give indigenous languages a rightful place in the new policy.
After the opening ceremony, there were paper presentations and group reflexions on the way forward. A new policy is expected before the end of this year.