UNESCO, the British Council and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) are jointly implementing a four-year project “Culture and Creativity for the Western Balkans” (CC4WBs), financed by the European Union in the amount of eight million euros.
At the center of this initiative are the creative industries and the strengthening of the social and economic influence of the cultural and creative sector in the region, it was highlighted at the presentation of the project in Mostar.
“The British Council is one of the partners in this project, together with UNESCO and the Italian Development Agency, while the project is financed by the European Union. What we are talking about here is capacity building in the creative and cultural sector in order to make the cooperation as effective as possible, with a special emphasis on the region. Individuals and associations will be able to apply for grants to encourage them to cooperate and develop ideas,” said the director of the British Council for the Western Balkans, Peter Brown.
Cultural cooperation in the Western Balkans, but also with the member states of the European Union, leads to stronger good-neighborly relations and enables the continuation of the reconciliation process, which is necessary for the region’s future development.
“The project should last four years, it is financed by the EU in the amount of eight million euros, and it should be emphasized that 50 percent of the funds will be provided through grants. This is a significant investment in the region, and with it, we also want to contribute to regional cooperation,” said Brown.
The head of the UNESCO office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Siniša Šešum, spoke about the goals of the project, pointing out that the primary task is to connect and strengthen trust and the process of reconciliation through culture and cultural industries.
“Another goal is to strengthen the sector of cultural industries, especially after the coronavirus pandemic, connecting cultural and creative workers throughout the region, connecting within the region and connecting the region with the EU. The third goal is the use of cultural heritage as a valuable component that is not used enough and that contributes to socio-economic development,” stressed Šešum.
As part of the presentation of the project, which was previously held in Sarajevo and Banja Luka, potential beneficiaries of the funds were introduced to the procedures for preparing the application.
Lorenzo Donatelli from the Italian Embassy pointed out that the cultural heritage and various cultural expressions that characterize the Western Balkans are fertile ground for the connection and cooperation of experts from the cultural and creative sectors.
“As a country, we have a big role, not only in development cooperation but also in the cultural sector, where we are one of the main partners of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is an honor to have the opportunity to be a protagonist of the implementation of this project and to meet many people who want to develop the sector of culture and creativity,” said Donatelli.