Culture & Entertainment

Measures Rolled Out to Strengthen Cambodia’s Cultural and Creative Industries

Cambodia has teamed up with UNESCO to roll out measures to strengthen the nation’s cultural and creative industries in the wake of the pandemic
Arts work at tiSamjort. Kiripost/Meas Molika
Arts work at tiSamjort. Kiripost/Meas Molika

Cambodia is gearing up to strengthen its cultural and creative industries alongside UNESCO after they were hit hard by the global pandemic, in a bid to boost the economy and revive the sectors in the years ahead for the 2030 of sustainability development.

UNESCO and the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts jointly organized a one-day consultation workshop entitled “Re-shaping Policies for the Cultural and Creative Industries” at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Phnom Penh on August 25. The workshop aimed to provide a platform for discussion on the development of Cambodia’s creative and cultural industries (CCIs).

Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, said the workshop was divided into two sessions. The first provided an overview of the current trend of the CCIs in global, regional and county levels. The second looked at CCIs policies: Asia perspectives.

During the workshop, the recently published UNESCO global report “Reshaping Policies for Creativity: Addressing culture as a global public good” was introduced to promote the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

In her opening speech,​ Sackona underlined the need to develop the National Cultural Policy, which was established in 2014, and to redefine the CCIs in Cambodia.

Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO Representative to Cambodia, highlighted the importance of CCIs in contributing to Cambodia’s socio-economic development, for which a continuous close dialogue between the government, civil society, and professionals operating in the field is required to strengthen the competitiveness of Cambodia’s culture and creative industry.

The cultural and creative industries are among the fastest growing sectors in the world, with an estimated global worth of $4.3 trillion annually, and account for 6.1 percent of the global economy.

The sector generates annual revenues of $2,250 billion and nearly 30 million jobs worldwide, employing more people aged 15 to 29 than any other sector. Therefore, the CCIs have become essential for inclusive economic growth, reducing inequalities and achieving the goals set out in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Presentations and discussions focused on the cultural industry, especially reviewing policies by ministries with presentations from representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Economy and Finance.

As a result of the presentations and discussions, the current situation and national policies related to the cultural industry in Cambodia, intellectual property, trademarks, geographical brands and tax collection were presented. As well as the taxation of the cultural industry.

Cultural industry in the Asian context was also highlighted, with presentations from the embassies of Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, China and Vietnam, who shared experiences on relevant CCI policies in each country. In the context of the Covid-19 epidemic, some countries continue to receive high national budget revenues through industry, culture and innovation were the two main points raised in the workshop.

UNESCO will continue to work with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and concerned line ministries, development partners and stakeholders, to strengthen the culture and creative industries in Cambodia, and will support Cambodia in integrating CCI in its national cultural development agenda.

UNESCO office in an old colonial building in Phnom Penh, September 2, 2022. Kiripost/Siv Channa
UNESCO office in an old colonial building in Phnom Penh, September 2, 2022. Kiripost/Siv Channa

What do we Mean by the Cultural and Creative Industries?

Those sectors of organized activity that have as their main objective the production or reproduction, the promotion, distribution or commercialization of goods, services and activities of content derived from cultural, artistic or heritage origins.

There are six cultural domains which are A. Cultural and Natural Heritage, such as museum archeological and historical places, and natural heritages, B. Performance and celebration, such as performing art, music, festivals, C. Visual art and crafts, such as fine art, photography, D. Books and press, including books, newspapers, and other printed matters, D. Audio visual and interactive media, such as films, videos, TV, radio, internet broadcasting, and video games, F. Design and creative service, such as fashion design, graphic design, and advertising services. Three other related domains include tourism and sport and recreation.

A new UNESCO report said CCIs account for 3.1 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 6.2 percent of all employment.

Exports of cultural goods and services doubled in value from 2005 to reach $389.1 billion in 2019. Besides being one of the youngest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world, new and ongoing challenges also make the creative economy one of the most vulnerable sectors that is often overlooked by public and private investment.

The cultural and creative sectors were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with more than 10 million jobs lost in 2020 alone. Public investment in culture has been declining during the last decade and creative professions remain overall unstable and under regulated.

Although culture and entertainment are major employers of women (48.1 percent), gender equality is a distant prospect.