On April 16 and 17, in Tunisia, at Al Hamra Theater, the first meetings of the Recommendation Follow-up Committee, issued from the Independent Culture for Democracy Conference, were held. Organized by Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy), in December 2012, the conference was ended with recommendations that included the formation of a follow-up committee of 18 participants, from 13 Arab countries.
Through online discussions, the committee members decided to adopt the working group mechanism, with each group undertaking one of the main themes of the recommendations. Three working groups were therefore formed: Cultural Policy and Funding for Culture Group; Role of Culture Independent Sector in Change and Networking, and in Supporting and Safeguarding against Right Violations Group; and Management, Governance & Skills Group.
Two meeting were convened for the first and the second groups, in coordination with the Arab Group for Culture Policy, some of whose members attended the meetings. The third group is expected to have a meeting soon.
Decisions and results of the meeting of the group of Culture Policy & Funding:
1. A researcher will be commissioned to undertake a study into how to develop the governmental cultural structure to help it cope with and support democratic change. The study will be a practical guide for culture activists and will be conducted on culture structures in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria.
2. A media campaign will be launched, demanding that 1% of the Arab states’ budgets should be allocated for culture. The campaign shall be supported by information and data on the current culture budget in different Arab countries and the share of every citizen
3. Unfamiliar/innovative cooperative or informal funding experiences shall be documented and shared.
4. Possibilities of holding national lotteries will be legally explored; and also similar ideas, such as crowd-funding, free-zone offshore funds, or collaborative deals with mobile phone operating companies.
Decisions and results of the meeting of the group of Role of Culture Independent Sector in Change and Networking, and in Supporting and Safeguarding against Right Violations:
1. A charter on culture rights in the Arab region shall be drafted.
2. A paper on mechanisms of rallying support to culture policy shall be prepared.
3. National culture policy groups shall send plans for rallying mechanisms, to include in their general annual plans.
4. A culture database will be created, on an independent server, on a regional level, for institutions and individuals in the culture field.
5. A work paper with forms of violation and international related to violation will be prepared.
6. An executive committee is formed, for better and prompt response to news about violations of rights or freedoms in the Arab region.
The second meeting for the Recommendation Follow-up Committee will be scheduled towards the end of this year (November or December), to follow-up the results of the first meeting and drawing up the next year’s plan of following through the implementation on the recommendations of the conference