UNESCO, the British Council and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) are launching “Culture and Creativity for the Western Balkans” (CC4WBs), a project funded by the European Union aimed at fostering dialogue in the Western Balkans through enhancing the cultural and creative sectors for increased socio-economic impact.
“The creative sector has been amongst the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, this new project is a great opportunity to build on the power of culture and creativity as a driver for sustainable development”, stressed Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture.
Over a 48-month period, the CC4WBs will develop the capacities of cultural and creative sectors across the Western Balkans region by acting at multiple levels. In particular, it will support stronger cultural policies for enhanced regional cultural cooperation, notably increased mobility of artists and cultural operators as well as financial and technical assistance for the growth of cultural and creative industries. It will also stimulate the protection, management and promotion of cultural heritage; as well as enhanced public-private partnerships in the cultural and creative sectors.
“I am glad that, together with my colleague Commissioner Várhelyi, we could launch such an ambitious action of 8 million EUR to support the cultural and creative sectors in the Western Balkans. Mainstreaming culture can lead to mutual understanding, peaceful cooperation and stability, as well as to economic benefits, especially in a region, which is so rich in cultural heritage. I am committed to assisting the integration of the Western Balkans in all areas of my portfolio, and I wish great success to UNESCO and its partners to implement this action”, said European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.
“The British Council actively champions the role of the cultural industries as a driver of sustainable, inclusive growth. We are delighted to be part of this project which will support collaboration in the creative economy across the Western Balkans, supporting the development of artists, cultural leaders, and creative businesses through meaningful international connections”, said Skinder Hundal, Director Arts, British Council.
"Through this project and partnership we are eager to further engage in the strategic field of culture in the Western Balkans, as we trust that culture represents a powerful engine for turning diversity into opportunity, as well as for promoting peaceful relations and socio-economic development", stated Leonardo Carmenati, AICS Deputy Director.