The Fifth Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Culture (CIC) of the Organization of American States (OAS) opened today at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC, with the goal of promoting cultural activities that promote development and social equity in the Americas.
The Executive Secretary for Integral Development (SEDI) of the OAS, Sherry Tross, said at the event that "the Americas constitute a culturally rich and remarkably diverse hemisphere in which culture can be a source of identity, social cohesion, and economic growth.”
Executive Secretary Tross recalled that during the Sixth Summit of the Americas, held a year ago in Cartagena de Indias, the heads of state and government of the Americas gave a special recognition to the role of cultural industries in achieving equitable growth and pledged to "promote economic growth with equity and social inclusion by strengthening cooperatives, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, including cultural industries, in addition to grassroots economic initiatives and other production units, innovation, and competitiveness in the countries of the Americas.”
The Executive Secretary of SEDI also recalled that the Social Charter of the Americas, adopted at the OAS General Assembly in June 2012 in Cochabamba, devotes a chapter to cultural development in diversity and pluralism. In this regard, she stressed that the Charter expresses the conviction that the heritage of a country “is a fundamental component to reduce poverty and reach integral development,” and that Member States committed themselves “to promote inclusive and participatory policies of cultural development that include programs of support to cultural and creative industries, preservation and protection of cultural heritage, and respect for and promotion of cultural diversity.”
Rafael Varón Gabai, CIC Chair and Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries of Peru, said that this is an issue "that all our governments have recognized as essential for the development of our countries: culture." "The idea is that this recognition be implemented and that it affects the politics of our countries," said Varón Gabai to the 60 participants in the meeting, among whom are representatives of the OAS Member States and delegates to the CIC, representatives of observer countries and international organizations, as well as other special guests related to culture.
“We consider culture as a key element in the formation of identity, as well as a major factor in the integration of our peoples. It is also a factor that gives cohesion and coherence to development, and this is one of our pending areas of work and one we will develop in this meeting," added Deputy Minister Varón Gabai.
The agenda of the Committee’s Fifth Meeting, which runs until Friday 22, includes discussions on how to promote dialogue among Member States to share experiences and solutions to common challenges related to the key topics on the agenda; debate on the Committee’s Work Plan and setting its priorities for the next period; reporting on the process of designing the Plan of Action of the Social Charter of the Americas in the area of culture; and discussion of proposals of location and date for the next meeting of the CIC.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.