Gambia to reform arts and cultural policy

The National Centre for Arts and Culture in collaboration with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has begun a two day validation forum towards a new cultural policy for The Gambia. The validation is underway at a local hotel in Senegambia, starts yesterday and ends today.

“The theme for the validation forum is strengthening the Legal and Policy Framework for realizing the full Potentials of Culture and the cultural Industries in National Development”

Speaking at the opening the Tourism and Culture Minister Hamat Bah, said the two days validation by stakeholders in Tourism and Cultural sector will comb through the documents composed of the comments, recommendations and criticisms by the stakeholders made during the July 2017 preparatory workshop, will replace the obsolete 1998 policy.

“A national Policy document is not a lightweight or inconsequential document book which will guide the cultural orientation of our country for the next decade or more and therefore its finalization process is a serious engagement.

I am sure all here present will bear this in mind as you go through the findings and suggestions in the draft in the next two days”, he stated

He said the arts and culture sector have faced logistic, budgetary and capacity inadequacies shortcomings since assumption of office by the new regime, particularly the 1998 policy as such the Policy is regularly revised and adjusted to make them responsive to the needs of today.

He said in 2015, the National Centre for Arts and Culture noted this anomaly and immediately set about rectifying it with the assistance it has received 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.

“Culture is a priority of the government of His Excellency president Adama Barrow, this is why we worked hard to brink certain useful developments in the culture sector, such as my Ministry’s approval of the NCAC staff and Audit report, befitting budgetary allocation and our intention to assist various artist association, recognized by NCAC with subventions, among others”, he said

He pointed out that the cultural Policy under validation will have direct bearing on tourism industry, owing that culture feeds the tourism product, thus the relationship is important enough for all the participants to consider as an important task during the validation of the draft Policy.

“Therefore, I should urge all of you to give this meeting its due consideration and partake in it to the fullest so that the contribution of each and every sector of  culture and arts you represent will have its ideas reflected”, he appealed

He concluded by thanking the Director General of NCAC and his team for the proactive stance on having a new policy for the sector, UNESCO through its National Commission in Banjul for the funding and to all the stakeholders who have in one way or another responded to their call for contributions. He also assured NCAC the supports of the government.

All those who spoke during the opening ceremony expressed thank to the stakeholders for their valuable contributions towards the success of the draft the validation processes of the document, which they said will go an extra mile in protecting and preserving the culture of The Gambia.

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