Baltic Sea Region has never before been so vivid and strong in terms of cultural cooperation. Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture plays an important role in this collaboration, providing support for CCI sectors in the region. I am privileged that I could serve as the NDPC Chairman on behalf of Poland since January 2014.
Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture – a regional platform established in 2010 with the aim to support development of cultural and creative industries (CCI) in the Northern Dimension area – acts on two levels: political and practical.
Considering the political level, I believe that one of the major achievements during the Polish Chairmanship is that the NDPC member countries reached an agreement on the so-called Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) stipulating the permanent location of the Secretariat for the Partnership. The Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Riga will remain the permanent location of the Secretariat of the Partnership. For practical reasons this is a very important result of the NDPC Steering Group endeavors. We are equally glad with the new regulations we have agreed on for securing a stable and fully operational framework for the work of the NDPC. Although the LBA still requires internal approval within each signatory country, a big step forward has been made.
I must admit, though, that I cannot be fully satisfied with the result of the LBA, since not all the countries are willing to fully engage into the NDPC works and fulfill the commitment of the Memorandum of Understanding constituting the Partnership, which has been prolonged by all NDPC partners this year. However, I do believe that it is only a matter of time, when the Partnership will play an equally important role throughout the region as the whole region can potentially benefit strongly from its activities.
Apart from the formal aspects of cooperation, the NDPC has also made significant progress in terms of supporting the CCI operators. We have adopted the NDPC’s long term strategy which defines three main areas of cooperation: policies and studies, knowledge sharing and good practices dissemination activities, as well as project support. As to supporting projects, we have continued granting program for the CCI operators. 12 cooperation platforms received support within the first round of the Cultural and Creative Industries Platform. During the second round, the four most promising ones of the 12 funded cooperation platforms – Filmteractive Network from Poland, Creative Business Cup from Denmark, Arterritory from Latvia and Music Industry Platform from Estonia – received additional financial support to further advance and develop their activities.
It is worth mentioning that the NDPC has created its own project – the NDPC Network of Creative Networks – focusing on national CCI experts from the NDPC countries. The first experts’ meeting took place in November 2014 as a side event of the conference of the Policy Area Culture of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in Tallinn. The second meeting was held on 3rd November in Kraków, back to back with the conference “Mastering the Game. Business and Legal issues for the Video Game Developers. Baltic Sea Region Perspective” that was held on 4-5 November. The conference was organized within the framework of the Polish Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States. In order to achieve the best possible results with limited recourses, we have a more synergy building approach to the regional cooperation. We strongly believe that this cross-institutional cooperation is a must for further development of the Partnership and for successful regional cooperation.
Recently, we have been hearing the word “cross” repeated many times. As a matter of fact, this term is a key to understanding the current challenges that not only the CCI sectors are facing, but that concern all the cultural operators in the region as well. Should we want to build innovative and competitive region, where cultural and creative sectors play a significant role, we need to open our minds for cross-sectorial and cross-institutional cooperation and not only continue the debate on that matter, but consistently implement and support such an approach on every possible level. These issues of cross-sectorial orientation were recently discussed during the Baltic Sea Cultural Gathering in Gdańsk. I have no doubt that the NDPC may largely contribute to overcome this challenge. A more cross-sectorial direction for the NDPC activities was also recommended as one of the outcomes of a recent study commissioned by the NDPC and presented by the Northern Dimension Institute titled Trends and Challenges in CCI Policy Development in the ND Area. The recommendation has also been included in the NDPC work plan.
There are still numerous challenges that the NDPC is currently facing, e.g. differences in understanding of the CCI sectors, their role and impact on national economy and available instruments for supporting the CCI developments. Achieving a common understanding is a long-term process and I am convinced that the NDPC is the very platform to provide for minimization of the existing divergences.
Director of the Department of International Relations
Ministry of Culture and national Heritage of Poland