A joint report between "Abu Dhabi Culture" and "UNESCO"

Culture in the time of "Covid-19" raises the slogan of steadfastness... and optimism for the future

The disclosure of the report comes a year after "UNESCO" and "Abu Dhabi Culture" announced their joint work on the global study.

Photography: Eric Arrasas

A joint report prepared by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi and “UNESCO”, revealed that culture was one of the sectors most affected by the “Covid-19” pandemic globally, as the sector lost more than 10 million jobs in 2020 alone, and witnessed a decline of 20 to 40 % in revenue.

The total added value of the sector also decreased by 25% in 2020. The report, entitled “Culture in the time of Covid-19: resilience, renewal and renaissance”, and revealed at a conference organized yesterday in Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi, provides a global overview of the impact of the pandemic on the culture sector. Since March 2020, it has been identifying paths to revitalize this sector.

The report, which was based on data from more than 100 reports in the field of culture and interviews with 40 experts and economic analysts, stressed the need for an integrated approach to the recovery of the culture sector, calling for the reformulation and support of the value of culture as an important foundation for a society characterized by greater Diversity and sustainability.

He highlighted the significant transformations that have taken place in cultural production and dissemination, especially due to the acceleration of the digitization of cultural products during the outbreak of the pandemic, as the total revenues of the digital creative economy in 2020 amounted to approximately 2.7 billion dollars globally, which is more than a quarter of the total revenues of the cultural sector as a whole.

support plans

The report, which examined the impact of the pandemic on all cultural sectors, indicated that although the culture sector suffered a significant decline, online publishing platforms and audiovisual platforms witnessed a remarkable growth due to the increased reliance on digital content during the pandemic period.

He explained that the pandemic represents a threat to cultural diversity, as the deterioration in the stability of the livelihoods of independent workers and professionals working in the cultural field, in addition to the exacerbation of already-rooted inequalities related to disadvantaged groups in society, prompted many artists and workers in the cultural sector to leave this field, which undermined the diversity of culture. cultural expressions.

These inequalities, along with regional disparities, have significantly damaged the production and distribution of cultural goods and services. For example, 64% of freelance workers in the culture sector in Latin America lost more than 80% of their income due to the outbreak of the “Covid- 19” pandemic. 19».

The report identified the main global trends that are reshaping the features of the culture sector, proposing new integrated directions and strategies for public policy in order to support the renaissance and sustainability of this sector in the future, noting that the end of the pandemic represents an important opportunity to redefine the position of culture in the general plan, and to enhance its value as a public benefit.

He stated that the pandemic has enhanced recognition of the social value of the culture sector and its contribution to collective and individual well-being and sustainable development, as culture has already been included for the first time in the policy discussions of the Group of Twenty in 2020. The report argues that it is necessary to seize this global momentum.

look ahead

The publication of the joint report came a year after UNESCO and the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi announced their joint work on the global study.

The Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, Ernesto Otuni Ramirez, and the Head of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, reviewed the highlights of the report, and discussed how the culture sector was not only recovering, but also transformed by taking advantage of the lessons learned from the pandemic crisis, noting The publication of the report will also contribute to the preparation of the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, which will be held in Mexico in late September.

The Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Culture stressed the need to recognize the ability of the culture sector to support the occurrence of societal transformation and the recovery of society at the level of various development goals, and to support the adoption of integrated approaches to revitalizing the culture sector, after identifying the main reforms that are currently emerging around the world in order to address to the global crisis.

While Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak expressed his optimism for the future, adding: “Although the report highlights the repercussions of the pandemic on the cultural sectors in the world, we are optimistic about our ability to move forward as an international cultural community.

The guidelines and strategies proposed by the report will reshape the sector’s features to be flexible and sustainable for generations and generations to exceed the importance of the results it reached,” considering that the department’s partnership with UNESCO consolidates the commitment of everyone to contribute to finding solutions and developing policies that would enhance the culture sector in the UAE and the world. .

Cooperation for sustainable development

The report, “Culture in the Time of Covid-19: Resilience, Renewal and Renaissance”, is a continuation of cooperation between “UNESCO” and the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi in a series of strategic initiatives that support a joint commitment to advance culture as a public good, and to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions in order to achieve sustainable development goals by 2030.

Ernesto Ramirez:

“The ability of the culture sector to support the occurrence of societal transformation and the recovery of society at the level of various development goals, and to support the adoption of integrated approaches to revitalizing the sector, must be recognized.”

Muhammed Mubarak:

"What the report proposes of directives and strategies will reshape the features of the sector to be flexible and sustainable for generations and generations to exceed its results in importance."

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Millions of jobs in 2020 alone, lost by the sector.

Online publishing and audiovisual platforms have seen significant growth due to the increased reliance on digital content during the pandemic.

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