The Council of Europe announced that during its Plenary Session on 5-6 May 2008, the Steering Committee for Culture approved the Council of Europe’s cultural governance observatory function, CultureWatchEurope.
As part of its mission, CultureWatchEurope:
- “Translates the Council of Europe’s key mission - human rights, democracy and the rule of Law - into an innovative action promoting culture’s role as the “soul of democracy”
- Is a platform for exchange between governments and civil society in a common effort to help raise consciousness of key issues connected to cultural rights and responsibilities as related to democratic practice and societal progress (e.g., freedom of expression, creativity, education, access and participation)
- Maximizes the usefulness of existing policy tools and standards in the cultural field, profiting from newly established synergies between different players and links between the mechanisms that they use
- Acts as an informal alliance of interested partners devoted to complementary action in building knowledge, arguments, awareness and capacity on culture for democracy”
The key strategic objectives and functions of CultureWatchEurope are as follows:
- “Monitoring body: To ensure the follow-up to Council of Europe Conventions in the cultural and heritage sectors and other “soft” standards in the cultural field
- Mapper and Watchdog: To watch policies and practices, trends and emerging issues in culture, engage in prospective analysis and forward thinking, offer an alert service to developments and difficulties and highlight good practice
- Analyst and policy advisor: To produce National Cultural Policy Reviews, sectoral and transversal studies and make available cultural policy expertise on selected issues, adopting methods that encourage widespread participation and open debate
- Liaison agent: To act as an information broker and clearing house on cultural, heritage and audiovisual policies and their impact Europe-wide, to provide tools, information and data services that assist with an enhanced approach to evidence-based policy making, research and transparency; to provide space where Council of Europe member states, civil society, private sector and expertise can meet to consider issues of common interest and discuss actions with a focus on a long-term perspective”
CultureWatchEurope will become operational in the second half of 2008. Operational management will be organized as a work program under the guidance of the Council of Europe’s Directorate of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage, linking with other Directorates as appropriate.
To learn more about CultureWatchEurope, visit the Council of Europe website.