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Culturelink review, no.36/April 2002 - contents - imprint - archive

The Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA)

Facing the needs regularly expressed by the officials of Governments and of Communities, and the expectations of numerous people involved in the area of culture, it became necessary to create an instrument able to respond systematically to the issues raised, addressing definitions, strategies and implementation of policies for sustainable development, taking into account cultural needs and sensitivities.

As a follow-up of the Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development, convened in Stockholm in 1998, and, in particular, the Pan-African Consultation held on that occasion, the African Regional Group found it relevant to imagine a common structure dedicated to the task of collecting information on policies in motion, on local and national initiatives, as well as on regional and international tendencies, and to further proceed with their analysis in order to provide guidelines to encourage research and promotion in the wide field of cultural policies.

Thus, the idea of an Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA) was born and meetings of experts were organised to design the project and explore possible avenues of making it a reality. To this end, a Task Force was appointed to undertake preliminary technical studies. This Draft Project Document is one of the products of the Task Force's work, which is submitted at the time when an interim website is already operational and a large-scale international campaign is under way to raise membership, mobilize support, and prepare for the appropriate implementation of the project.

By making this Draft Project Document public, UNESCO and its partners involved in the project initiation appeal to policy makers, scholars, professionals, promoters and cultural workers to join us and accompany us in this process. (For more information on the status and organization, location, office space, and possible donors and partners, please visit http://www.culturelink.org/ocpa.)

1. Introduction

The establishment of the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA) was proposed, in May 2001, as a result of a series of regional consultations and expert meetings (Kinshasa, August 2000, Pretoria, January 2001, Cape Town, May 2001) organized jointly by the Organization of African Unity, the Ford Foundation and UNESCO, following the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development (Stockholm, 1998), which proposed to "encourage the establishment of networks for research and information on cultural policies for development, including a study of the establishment of an observatory of cultural policies."

The Observatory will be set up in 2002, with a view to monitor cultural trends and national cultural policies in the region and enhance their integration in human development strategies through advocacy, information, research, capacity building, networking, coordination and cooperation at the regional and international levels.

The Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA) should be a service-oriented resource centre and a regional coordinating and monitoring body for a network of experts and institutions involved in policy and decision making, cultural administration and management, as well as research, training and information.


  • The Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa
     1. Introduction
     2. Context
     3. Background and Justification
     4. Antecedents (1998 - 2001)
     5. Field of Competence
     6. Objectives of the Observatory
     7. Expected Results
     8. Geographical and Linguistic Scope
     9. Beneficiaries, Target Groups and Clients
    10. Functions and Activities
    11. Products and Services
    12. Status and Organization of the Observatory
    13. Funding Strategy
    14. Programme Proposals
  • OCPA WWW Resource Centre