CAIRO – 2 August 2022: UNESCO, in cooperation with the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, published a new report within a series of reports titled "Culture In Times of COVID-19: Resilience, Recovery and Revival”.
In the report, an overview of the impact of the pandemic on the culture sector since March 2020 was presented, in addition to the identified paths to revive this sector.
The report examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all cultural sectors, and indicated that culture was one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic worldwide. The sector lost more than 10 million jobs in 2020 alone, and saw a 20-40 percent drop in revenue. The total value added of the sector also decreased by 25 percent in 2020.
Although the culture sector has suffered a significant decline, online publishing platforms and audiovisual platforms have witnessed a remarkable growth due to the increased reliance on digital content during the outbreak of the pandemic.
The report also identifies key global trends reshaping the culture sector, and proposes new integrated policy directions and strategies to support the sector's future renaissance and sustainability.
“We have identified the main reforms currently emerging around the world in response to the global crisis. It is necessary to recognize the ability of the culture sector to support the occurrence of societal transformation and the recovery of society at the level of various development goals, and to support the adoption of integrated approaches to revitalizing the culture sector,” UNESCO said in its report.
“Although the report highlights the repercussions of the pandemic on sectors of culture in the world, we are optimistic about our ability to move forward as an international cultural community.
The directives and strategies that the report proposes will reshape the sector to be flexible and sustainable for generations and generations that are more important than its findings,” the report added.
The report, which is based on data from more than 100 culture reports and interviews with 40 experts and economic analysts, underscores the need for an integrated approach to the recovery of the culture sector. It calls for the reformulation and promotion of the value of culture as an important foundation for a more diverse and sustainable society.
The report also highlights the significant transformations that have occurred in cultural production and its dissemination, particularly due to the acceleration of the digitization of cultural products during the pandemic. The total revenue of the digital creative economy in 2020 was approximately $2.7 billion globally, more than a quarter of the total revenue of the cultural sector as a whole.
The report underscored that the pandemic has proven to be a threat to cultural diversity, with the deteriorating stability of the livelihoods of freelancers and cultural professionals, along with the exacerbation of deep-rooted inequalities related to gender and disadvantaged groups in society, prompting many artists and cultural workers to leave this field, undermining the diversity of cultural expressions.
These inequalities, along with regional disparities, have greatly damaged the production and distribution of cultural goods and services. For example, 64 percent of freelance workers in the culture sector in Latin America lost more than 80 percent of their income due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report says that the end of the pandemic represents an important opportunity to redefine the place of culture in the public plan, and to enhance its value as a public good. The report indicates that the pandemic has led to an enhanced recognition of the social value of the culture sector and its contribution to achieving collective and individual well-being and achieving sustainable development. Culture has already been included for the first time in the policy discussions of the G-20 in 2020. The report argues that it is necessary to seize this global momentum.