[TimorLesteStudies] National Cultural Policy
Nuno.oliveira at anu.edu.au
Thu Oct 1 13:00:42 EST 2009
A first ever National Cultural Policy for Timor-Leste was approved by the Council of Ministers last week, on the 23rd of September 2009. The Policy was presented in both Tetun and Portuguese. Please find below the unofficial English translation of the Portuguese original. Any mistakes you may find are my sole responsabilty
Nuno Vasco Oliveira, PhD
ANH RSPAS ANU
Assessor/Adviser Secretaria de Estado da Cultura
Ministério da Educação, Rua de Vila Verde, Dili
República Democrática de Timor-Leste
T: + 670 333 9647
M: + 670 736 9666
Email: nuno.oliveira at anu.edu.au
NATIONAL CULTURAL POLICY
With over 40.000 years of human presence, 400 years of Portuguese colonisation, 24 years of Indonesian occupation, and a transition period under the United Nations administration, East Timor is developing today towards building solid cultural institutions and a sense of national identity.
Following the popular consultation of 1999, most of the existing infrastructure was destroyed and many technical staff in the education sector deserted. The effort since then put together to rebuild the country, done in cooperation with Development Partners and several national and international non-Government Organisations, has allowed to gradually inverting this situation. The events of 2006, however, have shown that this effort demands a continuous work in various areas, towards strengthening state institutions and creating relationships between these and other social organisations in the country.
In addition to not being a fundamental area of investment during the previous Portuguese or Indonesian administrations, the cultural sector was highly affected during the 1999 events. The effort to rebuild between 1999 and 2006 was also channeled towards issues related to institutional reform and primary education.
In the current context, the tutelage of culture should have a fundamental role of “coordination and harmonization of initiatives within the various participants in cultural activities”, both by Government and between this and civil society. For that to happen, it is essential to invest in a policy that promotes the qualification of human resources, creates infrastructure and establishes partnerships with both national and international institutions.
East Timor has a reduced number of technical and academic staff. The majority of universities do not yet offer degrees in social or cultural areas of knowledge such as anthropology, sociology, geography, philosophy, history or archaeology, or even fine-arts, architecture and music. This situation is in part related with the country’s socio-economical background and the fact that there is little capacity to absorb human resources qualified in such areas. The school curricula of basic, secondary and non-formal education are also lacking contents that reflect information of cultural and artistic nature, which is fundamental to invert this trend and create the conditions that will allow the access of future generations to academic education in such areas, both at national and international levels.
A significant part of the East Timorese population still lives in rural areas, with insufficient living conditions and access to information and communication. Despite these conditions, such context of isolation also permits a strong interdependency between communities and their environment, their history and their cultural traditions.
Like in many other cultures in the region, most East Timorese belong to a certain place and uma lulik (sacred house), sharing a series of beliefs and values in common with their community. In East Timor, such values gained a regional dimension of their own, resulting from the presence of Portuguese colonialism for more than four centuries. Additionally, the nearly two and a half decades of national organised resistance to Indonesian occupation contributed to reinforce the feeling of belonging to a reality with specific physical, linguistic and cultural characteristics.
In terms of the responsibilities in the cultural sector attributed to the Government, and particularly to the State Secretariat of Culture, the current context in East Timor offers multiple challenges and possibilities. On one hand, the need to creating management models, legislation, qualified staff and infrastructure; and on the other, the urgency in preserving the legacy of traditional diversity and the country’s cultural singularities. The present and future country will reflect the way Government decides to commit and face such challenges and possibilities.
2. Policy’s Structure
The current National Cultural Policy is divided into three parts: a group of introductory points (“Context”, “Policy’s Structure” and “Concept”); the “Objectives” and “Strategies”; and a part on “Financing”, “Inter-institutional Cooperation”, “Implementation Mechanisms” and forms of “Monitoring and Evaluation”.
The first part allows to defining the nature of the document, explaining the current situation in cultural terms and the need for a National Cultural Policy. This first part also explains the way this Policy is structured and discusses the concept of “Culture”.
In the second part, the main and secondary objectives of the Policy, as well as the strategies defined to achieve such objectives, are presented. The general objective is directly related to other specific objectives; all these are related and should be seen as indispensable components of the Policy as a whole. Both the general and the specific objectives will be carried out through the implementation of a series of strategies that aim at creating a new cultural dynamic within the current Government.
The third part discusses models of financing, inter-institutional cooperation, implementation mechanisms and the proposed ways of monitoring and evaluating the actions to be carried out.
“Culture” may be perceived as all series of practices, symbols and classifications with significance to a society or a group of people in a given period in time. The importance that each person places in the cultural environment or group that he/she belongs to is usually high; the identification of such person with a certain group frequently occurs by opposition to other groups.
Despite simplified, this definition of culture and cultural groups suggests that many social tensions, even though having multiple causes, generally result in mistrust and intolerance towards the founding principles of each group.
The ethnic and linguistic diversity, as well as the diversity of other cultural expressions present in East Timor today are assets in terms of the nation’s development and building processes. The various existing cultures should not be seen as elements opposed to development but instead as part of it (e.g. the various traditional laws, Tara Bandu, prohibition or limitation rules that aim at reestablishing order or balance of natural resources in a given social organisation). Because culture and traditions are dynamic processes, which change through time, a better understanding and incorporation of such elements in the process of modernizing the country will help developing a cultural identity for East Timor.
In face of such high cultural diversity, the better we understand the various traditional, national (and even international) cultural elements at stake, the less likely it is for social tensions to happen, thus making it possible to build a state that is truly multicultural, developed and peaceful.
Besides invigorating the elements of traditional culture (i.e. the knowledge and behavior that are orally transmitted from generation to generation), the country will expand if it opens itself to the introduction of quality external innovation. Because culture is dynamic, the opening to other cultural influences will allow for an enrichment of existing experiences and practices. In a context of growing professional competition, investing in the qualification of human resources, in better cultural infrastructure and in innovation will allow the cultural agents to find dignified ways of sustainability, contributing to the general objective of building a fairer, and more plural and cultural enriched country.
For all these reasons, the current National Cultural Policy is a fundamental instrument towards balanced governance, and one that aims at connecting History to the Present and the Future.
4. General Objective
The National Cultural Policy of East Timor is based on the general objective of making culture a dynamic element, present in all areas of governance. Such objective is presented in the Government’s program as the need to “placing culture at the use of affirming the Timorese Nation and State”.
Cultural diversity is one of East Timor’s main assets, which is manifest in the existence of various national languages, many traditional music and dances, as well as other social and artistic expressions specific to each part of the country. Such expressions, linked to the Portuguese colonial presence for over four centuries, made East Timor a unique country in the regional and worldwide context.
Throughout time, East Timorese culture has integrated external elements without ever having lost its main character, validating itself today as a dynamic culture in every aspect of the country’s social organisations. In reaffirming the importance of culture in East Timor, the current National Cultural Policy aims at contributing to the general objective of placing culture in a central stage in the process of asserting the East Timorese state.
This general objective correlates directly with other specific objectives that should be seen as indispensable components of the National Cultural Policy as a whole. Both the general objective and the more specific ones will be carried out through the implementation of a series of strategies, described below.
5.1 Specific Objectives
The specific objectives presented here are directly related to the Government’s program for the cultural sector. These objectives, which follow the general purpose previously described, are interrelated and complement each other. Both the general objective and the more specific ones will be carried out through a series of realistic strategies, which aim at creating a new cultural dynamic within Government. Despite its execution being dependent upon various factors (e.g. existing technical staff, infrastructure and budget), the specific objectives do not follow a hierarchy in terms of their importance.
5.1.1 Democratization and decentralisation of access to culture
Article 59 (Education and Culture) of the constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor’s, establishes in its point 5 that “all have the right to cultural fruition and creation”. Unfortunately, this is not yet a reality in East Timor’s current context of development. Despite several aspects of traditional culture being well embedded throughout the country, the transmission of cultural knowledge is still done essentially through the family and the community. It is necessary to change this, disclosing local and regional knowledge at a national level.
Additional to the aspects of traditional culture, the access to other events of a cultural nature is lower the further we move away from the capital city and urban centres. In order to invert this trend, it is necessary to organize cultural activities throughout the country, at a district and sub district levels, where the Regional Cultural Centres may play an important role.
Finally, it is equally necessary to use existing audiovisual and new technology means towards the democratization of access to culture. Despite the use of these in East Timor being currently limited, the gradual coverage of television, radio and other audiovisual means throughout the country, as well as the use of an Internet network, will contribute to the democratization and decentralisation of access to culture.
5.1.2 Preservation of memory and traditional cultural expressions
The social and cultural context in East Timor is one of dynamic and change, where a significant part of knowledge is transmitted orally. It is thus urgent to document all such knowledge, which may be useful to future generations; if this is not done, a significant part of the country’s collective memory may disappear forever. These memory expressions include not just those related to traditional beliefs and practices, but also those directly associated with more recent periods in the country’s history. The preservation of traditional memory and of oral history is a moral obligation, as these are very important in the process of building a fairer Present and a political conscientious Future.
The stimulation of traditional culture is also fundamental to keep one of East Timor’s main identity expressions alive. Albeit having been highly affected during the country’s recent history, “living culture” – the secular knowledge and practices that pass from generation to generation – remains as the main characteristic that defines the country’s social and cultural realities. As the majority of such social and cultural practices have hardly ever been recorded in written or audiovisual forms, their documentation and promotion are indispensable so that they do not disappear.
5.1.3 Preservation of cultural heritage
Article 59 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor establishes that all have the duty to “preserving, defending and valuing the cultural heritage”. East Timor has currently documented evidence of human presence that spans over 40.000 years of history, being the country in Island Southeast Asia where such evidence is older. The diverse cultural data throughout this period includes caves with prehistoric occupation, shelters with rock art and sites of human occupation with defense systems, besides evidence for land, animal and plant management practices almost 10.000 years old.
>From the 16th century onwards, the Portuguese colonial period is responsible for architectural marks in the landscape which need to be urgently preserved: forts, schools and other public and private buildings that will assist in rescuing the memory of an important period in the country’s history, contributing for a better understanding of East Timor’s cultural specificities as the sole Asian country member of the Portuguese Language Community of Countries (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, CPLP).
5.1.4 Invigorating the arts
East Timor presents an artistic production that has to be incentivized and stimulated. Amongst such contemporary expressions are music, fine-arts, theatre, literature, photography and several other audiovisual expressions, still at an early stage of development but revealing a creative spirit whose social impacts are important.
Support by Government of artistic and intellectual creation is a fundamental development factor. An improvement of the existing infrastructure, together with an incentive to qualification of human resources both in East Timor and overseas, will allow creating the conditions for young East Timorese to develop their artistic skills. This will then contribute, in a critical and responsible way, towards the construction of a plural and truly democratic state.
The strategies presented below aim at implementing the objectives previously described. Some of these strategies, such as the support to cultural groups and activities, may be defined as short-term, while others like the building of infrastructure will be carried out throughout the current legislative period. In the long run, all proposed strategies have the purpose of realizing the general and more specific objectives of this National Cultural Policy.
6.1 Libraries and Museums
The establishment of the National Library and the National Museum are two of Government’s major priorities. These institutions will work as centres of promotion for all cultural expressions in East Timor. The aim is, on one hand to create conditions for preserving and divulging East Timorese cultural knowledge, values, materials and practices; and on the other, to liaise the past to the present and the future, providing a sense of the country’s culture through establishing institutional relationships with the academia. The National Library and the National Museum are projects that involve training and qualification of human resources, as well as information management and new infrastructure.
The National Library/Conference Centre will allow recovering, preserving and divulging written and audiovisual information. Contrary to other available reading spaces currently existing in East Timor, the new National Library will offer adequate conditions for access and consultation of a high number of publications in several languages; it will have reading and working rooms, a lecture theater and access to Internet. The Conference Centre, directly linked to the Library, will allow for the financial sustainability of the project, at the same time creating conditions for the presentation of national and international cultural productions.
The National Library will have three main roles: 1) recovering, preserving and divulging national records, as well as results of research produced in the country; 2) exchanging information and records with other international libraries; and 3) serving as a hub within a public library network, in association with other libraries. The National Library will make resources available to the whole of the country through a system of mobile libraries and intranet, at the same time providing a coordinated series of services such as a library management system, a catalogue and the acquisition of materials to the public library network, as well as training and logistic support to libraries across East Timor.
The National Museum will be the institution accountable for the national archaeological and ethnographic collections. The State Secretariat of Culture currently holds a collection of ca. 750 ethnographic pieces that document various periods in the history of East Timor. Besides having recently improved the preservation conditions of the collection, a computerized inventory of all objects is currently taking place. In the future, a management and temporary loan policies will be shaped, and a new museum infrastructure built to safeguard the existing collection and additional materials that the National Museum acquires. The National Museum will incorporate permanent and temporary display areas, space for treatment, conservation and storage of materials, research, consultation and library space, as well as administrative areas.
The National Museum will also be the institution responsible for keeping the materials resulting from all archaeological activities in East Timor, in conjunction with a heritage management system that will allow the inventory, research and promotion of results from research carried out in the country. The National Museum, under the tutelage of the State Secretariat of Culture, will link research in heritage, archaeology and anthropology, and higher education in East Timor, thus becoming a dynamic element within scientific research and allowing sharing of information between national and international researchers.
The National Museum will act as the centre of a museum network, in connection with existing and future museums. For example, the National Museum will closely work and develop projects with the Archives and Museum of Timorese Resistance, which is an institution dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the East Timor resistance’s memory.
Once a National Museum is established with adequate conditions for the preservation and storage of materials, Government will be able to use existing international legislation to initiate the repatriation of East Timorese cultural assets, dispersed throughout the world.
6.2 Regional Cultural Centres
The establishment of Regional Cultural Centres contributes directly towards the objective of decentralizing access to culture, making possible that this gets to the districts, sub-districts, sukos and villages of East Timor. This will require an efficient coordination between the central offices of the State Secretariat and National Directorate of Culture and the Regional Cultural Centres, and an investment in infrastructure and technical training at a regional level. Both are essential requisites for cultural production and promotion to be nationally widespread.
Such Centres, which aim at establishing a relationship between Government, communities, and national and international non-Government organisations working in culture, entail the existence of a dedicated space in each region as well as qualified staff to undertake and keep up with projects. Each Centre will have a small library, public access to Internet, as well as a room for exhibitions and other cultural activities.
The Regional Cultural Centres will gradually develop into centres of creation and promotion of culture at a regional level. Additionally, they will be important in hosting cultural events between different regions, districts and sub-districts, contributing towards the general objective of building a national identity and helping promoting a spirit of peace and tolerance between people of different cultures.
6.3 Divulging and promoting culture
An indispensable instrument in the process of building national identity, culture and the promotion of cultural knowledge and activities are perceived by Government as a priority to achieve that goal. Additionally, they will lead to the consolidation of the democratic process and growing social cohesion.
The production of leaflets, brochures and other written records including a regular agenda, will allow recording oral forms of culture and promoting them countrywide. The promotion of cultural content in other languages will also make visitors and international workers in East Timor aware of the country’s cultural distinctiveness.
The State Secretariat of Culture’s Internet page will allow centralizing and promoting information on cultural activities and projects, both those undertook by Government and those developed by researchers, Development Partners and non-Government Organisations. The possibility of promoting activities in East Timor using new technologies will contribute towards the preservation of East Timorese cultural values, many of them existing only in oral form. Other audiovisual means such as the radio and television will also be utilized.
Finally, a National Culture Day will be instituted, in order to celebrate and promote the importance of culture at a national level.
6.4 Research and Higher Education
The establishment of new cultural institutions such as the National Library and the National Museum will demand the existence of staff with academic skills to run them. In such context, the State Secretariat of Culture will maintain a close relationship with universities in the country in order to develop partnerships between these and similar international institutions, towards the development of cultural areas of knowledge (libraries, archives, museums, heritage, archaeology, anthropology, music, fine arts, etc.). The aim of such partnerships is to establish ways of cooperation that allow the gradual inclusion of these areas in national university curricula, as well as facilitating the access by East Timorese students to academic institutions overseas.
The East Timorese state will also establish partnerships with Development Partners towards including a larger component of staff training in joint projects. Such training will include workshops in East Timor and scholarships to enroll in graduate and postgraduate studies overseas.
Since 1999, a significant series of research projects have been developed in East Timor, conducted by international researchers and institutions. For the most part, there has been poor coordination between such researchers and Government institutions due to a lack of institutional framework in Timor. This is little rewarding from a national perspective, as few scientific results remain in the country and training of East Timorese staff does not often occur.
It is thus urgent to establish a partnership with the National Centre for Scientific Research, in order to create mechanisms that regulate research activity under the tutelage of culture, including fieldwork permits and disclosure of results. A better coordination between international researchers and the East Timorese state will facilitate making results of research available through the State Secretariat of Culture’s Internet page, seminars, exhibitions, etc. The presence of such researchers in East Timor should also be articulated with national universities, through the organisation of workshops and other training activities.
Following what has been mentioned earlier regarding the need to invest in academic training of staff, the Ministry of Education will guarantee that young East Timorese may access academic training in cultural areas through its scholarship program. These areas will meet Government’s priorities as well as those specified in the current policy (libraries, museums, heritage, arts, music, etc.).
6.5 Development of curricular content
The production of cultural content to include in all grades of school and non-formal education curricula is extremely important. Additionally to the transmission of knowledge within the family, the school should work as a learning place of universal values, fundamental in the process of building a national identity. The production of content on the various cultures of East Timor, based on results of research conducted in the country, will help promoting such results to a wider audience and lessen social tensions, thus contributing to the national objective of peace and development.
The State Secretariat of Culture will work as a central element in recovering cultural information, making available contents and other types of materials that may be used in schools. The production of such resources will be carried out in collaboration with the National Directorate of School Curriculum, Materials and Evaluation of the Ministry of Education, through an annual plan executed before each school year and according to the Government’s education policy.
It is equally important providing academic students with materials resulting from scientific research carried out in East Timor. The State Secretariat of Culture’s Internet page will be one of the main instruments to make such resources available free of charge, through the publication of papers and books as pdf files. Since most of such information is usually published in English, the State Secretariat of Culture will gradually seek to make publication contents also available in Tetun and Portuguese.
6.6 Cultural mapping
The establishment of a computerized inventory system of archaeological, architectonic, anthropologic and ethnographic heritage of East Timor, as well as of cultural, music, dance and handicraft groups, is an important tool. This will allow centralizing the information and making it available to the public. With the existence of such cultural heritage management system, the nation will have an important instrument to bring together values of preservation and development, usually seen as conflicting.
The system of cultural mapping will include both the results of research activities and the work carried out by the Ministry of Education staff. The significant amount of research work carried before 1975 and after 1999, usually dispersed and of difficult access, will gradually be integrated into a database and made available through the State Secretariat of Culture’s Internet page. Training on mapping, description and classification of heritage values will also be provided to culture staff in the Ministry of Education.
In addition to the current National Cultural Policy, there is also a need to create other legal mechanisms to regulate the cultural sector in East Timor. The establishment of new cultural institutions such as the National Library and the National Museum demand the creation of their respective management and working models. The future School of Music and School of Fine Arts will demand similar regulations.
It is also necessary to establish legal mechanisms that will allow an efficient management and preservation of East Timor’s cultural heritage. The State Secretariat of Culture has initiated a partnership with the State Secretariat of Environment in order to regulate the heritage component in environmental impact assessment studies. Besides this, the creation of a new Heritage Law, aiming at classifying the cultural heritage of East Timor and defining the actions to be taken by the nation, will allow to clarify the rights and duties of citizens towards cultural heritage, contributing to its safeguard and valorization.
Further to national legislation, the nation will seek to sign international treaties and conventions in the cultural sector. Signing some of such international diplomas, such as the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural and Natural World Heritage, will allow the classification of cultural and natural sites and values in East Timor as World Heritage.
6.8 Supporting cultural activities
The organisations and people that make part of civil society have a very important role in supporting the initiatives undertaken by the nation towards the development of East Timor. The work carried out by some non-Government Organisations in the cultural sector is extremely important, complementing and often replacing the nation in education, and in the promotion and safeguard of fundamental cultural values. In such context, the State Secretariat of Culture will give continuity to a policy of supporting cultural activities by people and private institutions.
The involvement of the State Secretariat of Culture in promoting cultural events, becoming not only an organizer but participating and encouraging initiative is equally important. Through the support of private cultural initiatives, the state should contribute towards the existence of a dynamic civil society, interested in its own culture. The State Secretariat of Culture will make an inventory of cultural associations existing in the country, and will seek ways of collaborating with them so that there is a larger involvement of state in private initiatives of a cultural nature.
6.9 Other cultural institutions
In accordance with the priorities established in the government’s program, it is expected that two additional cultural institutions be created: the School of Music and the School of Fine Arts.
The existence of a School of Music is foreseen in the government’s program as a fundamental instrument to promote artistic creation in the music sector. The School of Music will work as a national learning and creation centre allowing the access to music education, the preservation and recording of music traditions, repertoires and instruments, as well as to research in the music area.
The School of Music is in a planning stage and does not yet have a location. The State Secretariat of Culture has initiated contacts at a national and international level in order to investigate future partnerships and choosing the institutional and management models more suitable to the existing social, cultural and economic situation in the country.
The School of Fine Arts corresponds to a perspective in Government that artistic creation is fundamental in order to strengthen principles of liberty, solidarity and critic pluralism in East Timorese society. The existence of a School of Fine Arts will allow developing technical and artistic skills, working also as a centre of research on arts in East Timor.
The establishment of a School of Fine Arts is also in a planning stage and does not yet have a location. In this area too, the State Secretariat of Culture has initiated contacts at a national and international level, in order to investigate future partnerships and choosing more suitable institutional and management models.
The possibility of the School of Fine Arts integrating a degree in architecture will be analysed. East Timor is significantly rich in terms of architectonic forms, which constitute a part of the nation’s culture and identity. The country will gain in integrating such realities when building new infrastructure and developing new architecture projects.
The models of financing suggested within the National Cultural Policy are necessarily dependent upon the budget of the State Secretariat of Culture, approved for each fiscal year. The annual plans that will allow executing the current policy should also reflect the existing budget conditions.
Despite the budget for the cultural sector in 2009-2011 including a significant increase in infrastructure, undertaking the projects previously described will also demand an investment increase in development capital, goods and services, namely in hiring more staff for the specific projects described in this policy, in acquisition of materials and in the execution of activities.
>From an internal point of view, the state will assure the regular financing of activities and structures depending upon the State Secretariat of Culture, channeling a growing percentage of the budget to financing cultural activities, based on total amounts made available each year by the General State Budget. By making available a budget that is proportional to the increase in expenses, the State Secretariat of Culture’s activities will be managed efficiently.
The state will also negotiate with Development Partners and other national and international private partners, in order to find ways of cooperation that allow executing and maintaining major projects in the cultural sector. The state will guarantee the necessary legal framework of each project, the hiring of new technical and administrative staff, and the regular administrative, technical and financial operation of future projects and institutions.
8. Inter-institutional cooperation
Given the existence within state of limited technical and financial resources, the work carried out between the State Secretariat of Culture and other government and non-government institutions needs to be articulate, in order to create mechanisms that allow communication and efficient sharing of resources.
8.1 National partnerships
The relationship between the State Secretariat and the National Directorate of Culture, and the Ministry of Education should be regular and broad so that the work carried out by the ministry reflects the effort developed in the cultural sector. In this sense, the inter-ministerial relationships to be established between the State Secretariat of Culture and other Government bodies will take into consideration not just this policy but also the National Education Policy. The establishment of partnerships and protocols between tutelage within state will make sure that there is an efficient coordination and sharing of information, as well as continuous cooperation between institutions.
The State Secretariat of Culture will also develop projects in collaboration with non-Government Organisations, local associations and individuals, seeking to supporting and taking part in initiatives of a cultural nature relevant to East Timor.
8.2 International partnerships
The establishment of a well-structured and proactive relationship between the State Secretariat of Culture and main Development Partners in the cultural sector is of great importance. The priorities for culture defined within the current National Cultural Policy, as well as an efficient coordination between state and development partners, will allow a better outlining of the efforts developed by the later, towards a balanced and efficient participation in projects developed by the State Secretariat of Culture.
According to the strategies proposed by the current Government, the establishment of competent cooperation with the CPLP will allow to strengthening the linguistic and cultural ties with those countries, which are fundamental elements in the history and national identity of East Timor.
The State Secretariat of Culture will work closely with the diplomatic representations of CPLP in East Timor in order to develop initiatives that acknowledge their different cultural realities and shared historical background. The State Secretariat of Culture will also coordinate efforts with other government bodies in order to strengthen East Timor’s presence within the CPLP countries. Such intercultural exchange will allow projecting East Timorese culture into the world, promoting the legacy it shares with those countries and affirming its own particular identity.
East Timor will take advantage of financial and technical resources made available within projects developed by CPLP. In order to utilize well such resources, East Timor will be represented and will take active part in international meetings, signing existing cooperation protocols and agreements. The State Secretariat of Culture will also work with CPLP partners in order to develop exchange programs and partnerships that may give access to qualification of East Timorese staff in cultural areas, such as theatre, music and the new technologies.
The State Secretariat of Culture will continue developing joint projects of a cultural nature with UNESCO. Besides occasional activities, UNESCO is currently supporting the State Secretariat of Culture in one of its main projects, the National Museum of East Timor.
The existence of a series of sites and values classified by UNESCO as World Heritage will provide international recognition and will work as stimulus for cultural tourism. Such sites and values may also be used as models for sustainable economic development in communities. The existence of a set of rules and benefits at a local level will allow the establishment of low cost preservation and management mechanisms, contributing at the same time for creating strong relationships between communities and their heritage, based on a combination of traditional know-how and scientific knowledge.
Besides cooperation projects with CPLP and UNESCO, contacts will also be established with other Development Partners, including countries with diplomatic representations in East Timor, as well as other international institutions in order to develop joint projects in the cultural sector.
9. Implementation mechanisms
The State Secretariat of Culture, under the tutelage of the Ministry of Education, is the institution within government responsible for the conception, execution and coordination of the current National Cultural Policy. The bodies directly dependent from the Secretariat within the Ministry of Education include the National Directorate of Culture, as well as culture ministerial staff in the regions and districts.
According to the policies defined by Government and the Ministry of Education, the State Secretariat of Culture is also responsible for the coordination of cultural projects developed in partnership with other state institutions, Development Partners and non-Government Organisations. According to the objectives and strategies set by the current National Cultural Policy, it is also the responsibility of the State Secretariat of Culture to defining priorities of state investment within the cultural sector, as well as the policy for supporting private cultural initiatives.
10. Monitoring and evaluation
The implementation of strategies presented in the National Cultural Policy will be directly monitored and evaluated by the tutelage bodies within Government, namely the Ministry of Education and the Council of Ministers. In addition to that, the establishment of a National Cultural Commission that may verify whether the goals set by this policy are being achieved is admitted. This consulting body, independent and composed by individuals associated to cultural sectors with national expression, should meet regularly and produce an annual evaluation report reflecting on the goals set by the State Secretariat of Culture, allowing an eventual readjustment of the strategies to achieve such goals.
The National Cultural Policy presented here was developed taking into consideration the priorities established in the program of the 4th Constitutional Government, 2007-12, in the National Development Plan of 2002, and in the Organic of the Ministry of Education, from 2008. The policy considers the current development stage of the country, as well as the priorities for the cultural sector set by Government. It aims at creating conditions that allow an efficient tutelage by the State Secretariat of Culture, aspiring at making culture a dynamic element present in all areas of governance. A well-balanced cultural management in the various areas under discussion (legal, educational and scientific) and diverse traditional, modern, national and international expressions, will contribute towards the development of citizenship values, peace and social cohesion, which are fundamental values in order to build a present and future national identity for East Timor.
The National Cultural Policy is a new instrument of governance, generated by the perception that culture is an area of fundamental importance. The State Secretariat of Culture, under the tutelage of the Ministry of Education, is responsible for executing this policy and turning it into an effective link between state, civil society and the development partners.
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