The UAE is working to grow its cultural and creative industries as it seeks to diversify its economy, Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, told Unesco's Mondiacult 2022 conference in Mexico.
Ms Al Kaabi participated in the largest global conference devoted to culture, which took place from September 28 to 30, via video conference.
At a session on the future of the creative economy on September 29, Ms Al Kaabi spoke extensively about the growing importance of the creative economy in a post-pandemic world. She shed light on how the UAE was leveraging the cultural and creative industries to diversify its economy.
“The UAE has recognised the growing power of the cultural and creative industries (CCI) within the wider economy, as well as its vulnerability to unpredictable events,” she said.
“The CCI contributes 3.5 per cent to the UAE’s GDP and is projected to grow to 5 per cent by 2031.
"We moved quickly to adapt our strategy and policy work in this area both on a federal and local level.
"The UAE Culture Agenda 2031 was launched in 2018, as the first nationwide strategy unifying the efforts of the national culture sector."
She said the Covid-19 pandemic was detrimental to the sector, but the UAE was quick to adapt to the situation by appropriate policy intervention.
“We launched the National Creative Relief Fund to mitigate the pandemic’s financial impact by offering relief packages to creative practitioners and SMEs," Ms Al Kaabi said.
"Our cultural operators stepped in to provide economic catalysts, digital activations, and free access to knowledge and content to sustain the creative spirit.
"We also boosted the Golden Visa Scheme to sustain the livelihoods of creative practitioners in the UAE.”
Speaking about strengthening and streamlining the creative economy, she talked about the creative UAE strategy and the framework for culture and arts education presented by the UAE at the 211th session of the executive board of Unesco.
“In 2021, the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, we launched a 10-year National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries, which aims to foster a robust creative ecosystem within the national economy," she said.
"Globally, we were driven to present two resolutions to UNESCO’s Executive Board, one focusing on Culture and Arts Education, and the other on Consolidating Action for the Creative Economy.
“The UAE will continue to develop future-forward policy support, and appropriate funding mechanisms to sustain the CCI sector through institutional collaboration and interdisciplinary knowledge.”
She ended the session by calling on all stakeholders to jointly resolve to design policy and partnerships based on a spirit of collaboration and openness, one that can lift the communities in the present and the future.
A delegation headed by Salem Al Qasimi, permanent delegate of the UAE to Unesco, represented the country at the conference.
The international conference hosted a number of events to mobilise cultural policies to tackle global challenges for a more robust and resilient cultural sector.
Ebtesam Saif Alzaabi, international organisations expert at the United Arab Emirates National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, represented the UAE at a panel discussion titled Libraries Accelerating Education-Culture Linkages: Partnering to Empower the Cultural Sector.
She spoke about the UAE’s network of libraries and how it was a key contributor to building a knowledge-based economy.