CARICOM Secretariat, Guyana – A three-day training seminar that gets underway on 29 March in Castries, Saint Lucia seeks to help address capacity-related issues that have contributed to the paucity of “relevant and reliable” data on creative industries in the Caribbean.
Jointly organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) — the seminar titled Assessing the Economic Contribution and Performance of Creative Industries to National Economies – seeks as its primary objective to “strengthen the capacity of national and regional statistical offices to collect, analyze, and disseminate economic data on the creative industries sector.”
Its second stated objective is to “increase awareness among policy makers and development partners on the extent and specificity of the sector’s data related challenges,” so as to better inform policy and programme agendas as well as the type of assistance that can be extended to the sector.
It has long been recognized that cultural or creative industries form a critically important part of the economic life blood of Caribbean countries. In the contemporary regional narrative on globalization and the new economy, creativity and innovation, intellectual capital, Services, economic productivity/competitiveness and the prospects for economic growth, creative industries have risen to prominence. Indeed, in policy circles a higher premium is increasingly being placed on the possibility of creative industries adding not just significant new economic value to the economies of the Caribbean, but also contributing to unlocking the development potential of these countries.
Yet, historically there has been a dearth of statistics on several aspects of the creative industries in the Caribbean. The economic value of creative industries has thus remained largely un-documented, and as a consequence their economic contribution is often underestimated.
The seminar will bring together policy makers, leading regional and international experts and technocrats, including statistical and trade officials from the Caribbean.
The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Implementation Unit of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat will be represented at the seminar by its Trade in Services and Investment Specialist, Ms S.H. Allyson Francis. Ms Francis will deliver a presentation in the context of a session set to examine data collection in support of policy decisions to leverage the EPA, for the promotion of CARIFORUM’s creative industries. She will also play a leading role in subsequent roundtable discussions.
In the CARIFORUM-EU EPA, a two-pronged approach is taken to the treatment of the cultural sector: (i) through liberalization commitments for entertainment services, on the part of CARIFORUM and the EU; and (ii) through the Protocol on Cultural Cooperation, hailed by many as an “innovative” feature of the Agreement.
The fifteen signatory Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific (CARIFORUM) States to the EPA are the independent CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic.