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UNESCO: Intervention by Minister of Tourism, Trade and Culture at regional consultations for Mondiacult

Ms Lilja D. Alfreðsdóttir - mynd

Intervention by Ms Lilja D. Alfreðsdóttir, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Culture of Iceland
Regional Consultations for Mondiacult –  UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development
13 December 2021

Excellencies,

First of all I want to thank UNESCO for this invitation to the regional consultation and important opportunity to prepare for Mondiacult – our World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development next year.

This Ministerial conference comes at a time when we need to shape a more robust and resilient culture sector as Covid-19 has further revealed the pre-excisting vulnerability of the cultural sector as well as its important contribution to the global economy. The global crisis has effected everyone in the cultural sector around the world by lockdowns and travel restrictions and impacted the heart of both small and large communities where it is the cultural sector that contributes both to the communities livelihoods and resilience.

In Iceland the government and Parliament have since March 2020 taken specific economic measures to support the cultural sector due to the impact of the pandemic.

The priority areas in our response strategy to mitigate the economic impact on the cultural sector are to encourage cultural production and consumption in the fields of literature, music, film, performing arts, visual arts and design. The economic measures most directly supporting the cultural sector in the short term are:

  • Income subsidy.
  • Support for individuals.
  • Artist stipends.
  • Awareness raising.

The professional, social and economic status of artists and cultural professionals has also been considerably weakened and therefore I want to address the importance of Investing in culture and creativity for job creation and socio-economic development which is definitely the mandate of the new Ministry I lead now in a newly formed Government in Iceland;

The Ministry of Culture, Trade and Tourism where we will focus even more than before on the importance of the creative industry.

The landscape of cultural policies in Iceland has evolved significantly over the last couple of years with a number of new policies and action plans in arts and culture and one part of our new policies is a newly formed platform called: Creative Iceland. The vision of Creative Iceland is to strengthen Icelandic arts and creative industries by developing and incentivizing attractive options for creative people and companies in Iceland.

Economically the creative industries are quite important for Iceland and our policy is working on moving away from being dependent on natural resources to one that is based on know how and innovation.

In economic terms these industries are more flexible, grow faster and create societal quality as well as value added in other industries and sectors and they also can balance economic fluctuations.

Supporting culture and creative industries is an important part of our cultural policies and we have a very strong support systems for the arts and artists with salary funds, project funds, marketing funds and now we are considering how the can better support entrepreneurship and the new innovative and creative industries.

We consider culture and the creative industries to be very important for the development of both a sustainable society in Iceland and a competitive economy as well.

I look forward to our discussions on cultural policies and sustainable development at the Mondiacult conference in Mexico next year.

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