Caricom leaders last week endorsed the idea of the Caricom Secretariat and Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) preparing a proposal for a Caribbean Creative Industries Management Unit.
The Unit would be located in Caribbean Export in Barbados, would be self-financing and report to the Regular Meeting of Heads of Government in July, a communique issued at the close of the 26th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, held in The Bahamas on February 26 and 27, said.
In seeking new development pathways “in the pursuit of inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth, the Caricom leaders acknowledged the potential of the cultural and creative industries in contributing to the development of the Region. “They reaffirmed the significance of the cultural and creative industries to Caricom integration and the CSME, and as a driver of social development and cohesion, cultural identity and diversity, and youth engagement,” the statement said.
The presentation highlighted the fact, that according to the Caricom Commission on Youth Development (the CCYD), youth are the backbone of the creative industries in the Community, both as consumers and producers and that youth under 30 years constituted as much as 60 per cent of the Region’s population. A strategy that combined the cultural and sporting assets with the Region’s innovative youthful human resource and with new technologies, opened up opportunities for a new and sustainable development pathway that leverages the Community’s strengths.
Heads of Government also agreed on the critical importance of strengthening the regional capacity to implement the Regional Development Strategy for the Cultural Industries in Caricom. The Heads directed the Caricom Secretariat and the Caricom Development Fund (CDF) to collaborate with CARIFORUM, Caribbean Export and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to identify donor resources to finance the development of the cultural and creative industries. The CDF and the CDB were asked to collaborate, in consultation with the Caricom Secretariat, in the design of a mechanism for sustainable financing of these industries which would include private sector resources and partnerships.
Heads of Government also requested that Caribbean Export convene a Working Group to develop a Plan of Action for the Caribbean to take maximum advantage of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil as a pilot for future similar international events, and report to the Regular Meeting of Heads of Government in July.
The Conference congratulated and thanked former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson for his lead presentation on “Leveraging CARICOM’s Human, Cultural and Natural Assets for the Economic Development of the Community.” Appreciation was also extended to the expert team from the CDB, Caribbean Export, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caricom Secretariat that supported Patterson, the communique said.