On Wednesday, Culture Minister Paula Moreno presented her progress report for 2009, detailing the entity’s achievements in several key areas, and emphasizing the role that culture has played in Colombia’s social and economic development. Some of the main points are listed below:
1. Increase in resources allocated to culture: In 2010 the Ministry of Culture will be given the highest budget in its history with COP90 billion dedicated to its various programs, and COP30 billion dedicated to concert schedules. New programs, such as the National Dance Plan and the Professional Symphonic Music Program, will be paid for with these funds.
2. Legislative achievements: These include the passing of laws regarding public libraries and native languages, as well as a law intended to protect both tangible and intangible cultural heritage. This year, Latin America’s first Compendium of Cultural Policies was created which, among other functions, processed decrees regulating social security for artists and cultural managers.
3. The internationalization of Colombian culture: Colombia’s successes in this regard included the addition of Popayan’s Semana Santa and the Pasto Fiesta de Blancos y Negros in the UN Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. In 2009 the city of Cartagena de Indias and the historical centre of Santa Fe de Antioquia were also included in the World Monuments Watch list.
Colombian cinema was represented at the Cannes, Tokyo, Santa Monica, Toronto and San Sebastian film festivals.
4. Public access to quality cultural services: The National Literature and Libraries plan reached 99% of the country and the number of libraries increased from 683 to 1022. Efforts were made to extend library services to remote areas as well as to indigenous and black communities, and to prisons. The National Music Plan reached 55% of municipalities, and has allocated more than COP28 billion, with the creation of 605 music schools.A total of 62,000 youngsters benefit from this program.
In the theatrical sector, the number of concert venues increased from 71 to 93, and some 5,000 dance organizations were recognised across the country.
Exhibitions at the National Museum attracted some 266,000 visitors, and nineteen of its exhibitions toured seventeen Colombian cities.
The Culture Minister emphasized that by 2010 the organisation will seek not only to develop existing programs but to devise and launch many new initiatives, boosting Colombia as a key player in the cultural evolution and development of Latin America.