The Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honorable Hamat NK Bah accompanied by a high power delegation was one of the one hundred and fifty Culture Ministers from around the world that gathered in Mexico City, Mexico from the 28th to 30th September 2022 for the UNESCO MONDIACULT Conference to deliberate on Cultural Policies.
The MONDIACULT Conference was last held in 1982 – 40 years ago in Mexico City and this made concluded conference a very important and worthwhile attending. The official opening of the ceremony was held, on Wednesday, 28th September 2022 at the National Auditorium in Mexico City by the Mexican Federal Secretary of Culture, Alejandra Frausto.
In her speech, she explained the very important role that culture can play in defeating the canker of racism in the world. Addressing the conference, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Madam Audrey Azoulay reiterated the power of culture to develop communities and economies.
She urged the government and member States of UNESCO to work towards strengthening the cultural policies in their countries so that the population can harvest the benefit of culture in terms of economy, forging unity, and in terms of giving the population a spirit of unity and cooperation. She added that through culture lots of issues currently facing the world can be solved. The Gambian Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honorable Hamat NK Bah explained the importance of cultural policies as far as developing the culture sector is concerned.
He noted that soon after he came to power, the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) was supported by UNESCO to elaborate a new culture policy for The Gambia to replace the 1988 culture policy, “a culture policy that is ready and fully operational supported by other action strategies in the culture sector and also in the tourism sector.”
Minister Bah reiterated some of the achievements made in the culture sector of The Gambia including the most recently the ratification, by the National Assembly, of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) and also the recent successful Periodic Reporting of The Gambia (the NCAC of the 1972 UNESCO Convention on World Heritage and also the 2005 Convention on the Promotion of Cultural Diversity).
The Minister noted that the Gambia has successfully reported all these Conventions on all its activities of these Conventions to UNESCO and the reports had been fully accepted. He added, also, by explaining that The Gambia is currently working with NCAC to report successfully on activities towards the 2003 Conventions on the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
In a well-received speech, Honorable Minister Hamat NK Bah also urged fellow Ministers of Culture across the world to redouble, update, and make sure they have gender-friendly inclusive cultural policies that will be a guide to all cultural artisans and activities.
The Honorable Minister was accompanied to the MONDIACULT Conference in Mexico City by his Permanent Secretary, Madam Kodou Jabang Linguire Senghore, and the Director General for the National Arts and Culture, Mr. Hassoum Ceesay.