Wants Culture as Basic Human Right
Written by Brazzil Magazine
Friday, 27 August 2004
Brazil's Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, challenged
the 35 member countries of the Organization of American
States (OAS) to include culture on the list of basic
policies to promote economic development and foster
At the second OAS Ministers meeting, which ended on
August 24, in Mexico, Gil emphasized: "Government
policies for culture can no longer be secondary, fragile,
peripheral. They represent the social and infrastructure
policies of the 21st century."
According to the Minister, it is necessary to expand
the notion of culture as a vital dimension of citizenship,
social inclusion, and quality of life, "the notion
of culture as an obligation of the State."
Gil reminded the other ministers present that the development
process "is not completed, if it is not given cultural
underpinnings, if it does not incorporate wider access
by the population to the means of production and dissemination
of cultural materials."
Ealier this month, the Culture Minister talked about
creativity as a basis of the production process during
the First Evaluation Meeting of the XI United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)in Geneva.
For Gil, the so-called creative industries should have
a distinct policy. In his view, cultural goods and services
cannot be treated in the same way as their commercial
counterparts, because they contain specific values for
sovereignty and the preservation of cultures.
At the XI UNCTAD, which took place this year in São
Paulo, the Minister launched a proposal calling for
a global policy of free circulation of cultural goods
Gil's idea is to mobilize the international community
to turn creative industries into instruments of leverage
for developing countries.
Now the Minister wishes to establish the International
Forum of Creative Industries, with headquarters in Brazil,
to discuss the implementation of strategies in this
In Geneva, Gil launched the foundations of the National
and World Capoeira Program (Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian
form of self-defense that is also practiced as a sport).
The Minister promises to convene this year the first
meeting of capoeira practitioners from Brazil and other
countries to discuss the organization of the program.
Among the initial ideas are proposals that encompass
schools, students, and the government.
The first idea is for the creation of a program in
schools, in partnership with the Ministries of Sports
and Education, so that capoeira is not viewed solely
as a sports event, but as a cultural and artistic activity.
Another plan is to establish a specific social security
plan for practitioners. The program also intends to
provide support for capoeira practitioners who live
abroad and to develop capoeira as an instrument of citizenship
and social inclusion.
In Geneva the Minister also participated in a tribute
to Sérgio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian who represented
the United Nations (UN) on a humanitarian mission in
Iraq, where he died a year ago, victim of a terrorist
attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad.