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Diversity of cultural expressions

Freedom of art and culture  
Photo: © Caroline Minjolle

The International Fund for Cultural Diversity
Investing in Creativity. Transforming Societies

The International Fund for Cultural Diversity was established pursuant to Article 18 of the “UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” in order to support countries of the Global South with implementing the Convention.

It benefits projects and structural initiatives that aim to develop cultural policy strategies, programmes and measures in countries of the Global South. The aim is to promote sustainable regional cultural markets by strengthening the local art and culture scene. The project should last 12 to 24 months. A maximum of USD 100,000.00 can be granted for implementing the projects.

Since 2010, the International Fund for Cultural Diversity has supported 114 projects in 59 countries of the Global South with funds amounting to more than USD 8 million, covering a broad range of initiatives: from developing and implementing cultural policy programmes to measures for increasing the capacity of cultural creators, developing new business models for those involved in the creative industry as well as to status and needs analyses for specific art disciplines in different countries.  

Only international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations in countries of the Global South that have ratified the Convention are entitled to apply.  

The international call takes place once a year (submissions by end of April). The intergovernmental committee of the Convention (24 selected countries) decides which initiative to award the funding to based on the evaluation of an international panel of experts. The submissions are evaluated according to the whether :  

  • the project complies with the aims, priorities and fields of application of the Convention and the fund;
  • it reflects the needs and priorities of the country or countries in which the project is to be realised and is also relevant and viable;
  • the results envisaged are concrete, quantifiable and realistic;
  • it aims for long-term, sustainable effects and/or has the potential to improve structural conditions (for the promotion of a dynamic cultural sector);  
  • it promotes South-South and North-South-South cooperation.

The fund is supplied solely from voluntary contributions from governmental and independent actors. In line with the “principle of international solidarity and collaboration” enshrined in the Convention, the countries of the Global North have pledged to voluntarily pay 1% of their UNESCO membership fee to the fund each year.

Austria honours this commitment and has so far supported the fund with a sum of EUR 120.000.