During the Second Conference of Ministers of Culture of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), held in Abudja, Nigeria, from August 23 to 26, 2005, participants endorsed a declaration on the protection of cultural diversity. The declaration constitutes a major innovation with regards to the first May 2002 meeting in Dakar. Indeed, by this declaration, Ministers of Culture of the ECOWAS make an urgent plea to the other member States of sub regional groups, to commit themselves through the same means “into defending and promoting the diversified cultural expression, by supporting regional scale cultural demonstrations”.
During that conference, the ministers further set up a means of financing cultural activities in Western Africa. Populations’ access to culture is indeed a part of the essential elements in the struggle against poverty and to strengthen social cohesion. The ministers also accepted in principle to design a regional policy for promoting museums, based upon the Western Africa Museums Program located in Dakar, Senegal. Within this framework, the Bénin Republic obtained 3,0489 million euros from the European Union, to finance its Program to support decentralized cultural initiatives.
The Abudja meeting aimed at implementing the Nepad-Culture Action Plan, adopted at the end of the first Conference of Ministers of Culture of the ECOWAS in Dakar. According to the Dakar Declaration and Action Plan, “culture is an essential dimension of genuine human development”.