Policy area


Sustainable development goals and international commitments

Key international documents in the area of culture

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – adopted in 1966 at the UN General Assembly session is a legally binding document which requires state parties (170 as of January 2020) to safeguard and guarantee human rights falling under these three categories, including the right to work, the right to education, the right to health, and also the right to participate in cultural life and cultural development.

The World Heritage Convention  – adopted at the UNESCO General Conference in 1972, sets the criteria for designating sites that can potentially be UNESCO World Heritage Sites, defines the responsibilities of state parties concerning the preservation and protection of not only the world heritage, but also the overall national cultural and natural heritage.

The Convention for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage  – the first multilateral binding document that aims to safeguard and promote all traditions, practices, knowledge belonging to various communities which are passed down from one generation to the enxt, thus creating the intangible cultural heritage. The state parties are obliged to adopt all the necessary measures to protect their intangible cultural heritage and thus promote cultural diversity;

The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions – this Convention, adopted in 2005, recognises the economic nature of modern cultural expression and defines the measures state parties are to undertake to support creation, production, distribution and access to cultural goods and services;

The European Cultural Convention – is the international Council of Europe’s treaty adopted in 1954 in Paris and ratified by 50 state parties which aims to establish and promote European cultural identity and heritage, mutual understanding and respect for cultural diversity of European nations and their contribution to the development of common European cultural heritage.

Culture in SDGs by 2030

SDG 4 – Quality education: 4.7. By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development;

SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth: 8.9. By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products;

SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities: 11.4. Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Culture in the National Sustainable Development Strategy by 2030

In the National Sustainable Development Strategy by 2030, which is the national implementation document for the Agenda for Sustainable Development by 2030, culture is seen as one of the sustainable development pillars, and by extension, culture development and safeguarding cultural diversity are seen as one of the NSDS strategic goals. The underpinning values for this policy include, according to the NSDS, firstly the freedom of creation and the respect for the right to culture, then equal preservation of all cultural identities and respect for cultural diversity, transparent actions in culture, respect for copyright and related rights, democratisation of culture policy and, finally, decentralisation of culture organisation and financing.

The strategic goal 2.6. – Improve the importance of culture as a fundamental value of spiritual, social and economic development which significantly improves citizens’ life quality, includes the following measures:

2.6.1. – Strengthen capacities of cultural institutions at all levels and establish a sustainable financing system SDG 4, (4.7), SDG 8 (8.9) i SDG 11 (11.4);

2.6.2. – Establish a modern, efficient system for creating and presenting cultural activity, as well as status of artists and authors in the society, at the same time expanding and educating the audience SDG 8 (8.9) and SDG 11 (11.4);

2.6.3.  – Strengthen informal, amateur, alternative, modern cultural practices, as well as cultural industries in Montenegro SDG 11 (11.4), SDG 8 (8.9) and SDG 4 (4.7);

2.6.4. – Encourage cultural diversity by strengthening cultural activities of marginalized groups such as youth, elderly, women, LGBT persons, persons with disabilities etc., and ensure tolerance in this cultural segment SDG 4 (4.7) SDG 11(11.4).

Strategic goal 2.7. – Establish an efficient and modern system of integrated protection, management and sustainable use of cultural heritage and landscape, includes the following measures:

2.7.1. – Promote an effective system to safeguard cultural heritage at all levels SDG 4 (4.7), SDG 8 (8.9) and SDG 11 (11.4);

2.7.2. – Promote protection of cultural heritage at all levels SDG 11 (11.4) SDG 8 (8.9);

2.7.3. – Promote sustainable use and management of cultural heritage SDG 11 (11.4) SDG 8 (8.3 and 8.9)

EU acquis chapters

Obligations in the EU accession process

An overview of obligations from negotiation chapters

Within the framework of the EU integration process, culture policy is covered by Chapter 26 – Education and culturewhich was opened and provisionally closed at the Intergovernmental Conference held on 15 April 2013 in Brussels without any opening or closing benchmarks.

Montenegro’s gals and priorities in this policy area are set in the National Culture Development Programme 2016-2020, which reflects the principles of the European Agenda for Culture.

Montenegro partakes in the Creative Europe 2014-2020 programmewhose specific objectives include preservation of cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe, strengthening financial capacities and competitiveness of cultural and creative sectors, and promotion of international mobility for cultural creators and their works. To date Montenegro has participated within 5 projects under this programme (European Artizen InitiativeMUSIC UP CLOSE NetworkYOUNG@OPERACreative Climate LeadershipEu Collective Plays!)

An outline of the EU strategic framework

The European Agenda for Culture – adopted in 2018, pursues 3 strategic goals which cover the social, economic and external dimensions of culture:

–         Harnessing the power of culture and cultural diversity for social cohesion and well-being;

–         Supporting culture-based creativity in education and innovation, and for jobs and growth;

–         Strengthening international cultural relations.

Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022 – the document adopted in 2018 by the Council of Ministers, sets out 5 priorities for European cooperation in cultural policy-making: sustainability in cultural heritage; cohesion and well-being; an ecosystem supporting artists, cultural and creative professionals and European content; gender equality; international cultural relations. These five priorities are accompanies by 17 specific measures and performance indicators.

European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage – is a document based on 4 key principles for actions: holistic approach, viewing cultural heritage as a resource for future development; integrated approach and mainstreaming in different EU policies; evidence-based policy making, including cultural statistics; multi-stakeholder cooperation in cultural heritage policy and programme development and implementation.

It is worth mentioning the Creative Europe programme, within which the European Comission supports projects in the areas of culture and media with EUR1.46 bn.

International indicators

UIS (UNESCO Institute for Statistics) Cultural employment data

Employment in UN member states shown through the data concerning culture industries and professions (% and absolute terms)

UIS Feature film and cinema data

The data on film production, distribution of live action films, film screenings and cinematographic infrastructure in UN member states

UIS international trade of cultural goods and services data

The data on imports, exports and distribution of cultural goods and services in UN member states

EUROSTAT Culture Statistics

The data on employment in culture, international trade in cultural goods and services, participation in culture, businesses producing and selling cultural goods and other culture economic activities, public spending for culture, prices of cultural goods and services

Montenegro's strategic framework

Current strategy papers
Expired strategy papers

Culture policy in Montenegro’s strategic framework

In the National Sustainable Development Strategy by 2030, culture is seen as one of the fundamental values of Montenegrin society and a key segment in sustainable development. Cultural policy is covered by two strategic goals of this overarching document, namely 2.6. – Improve the importance of culture as a fundamental value of spiritual, social and economic development which significantly improve citizens’ life quality, and 2.7. – Establish an efficient and modern system of integrated protection, management and sustainable use of cultural heritage and landscape, setting the targets to be reached by 2030, among others the following: effective and sustainable institutional model for the cultural sector; harnessing the potential of culture and cultural heritage; culture as the key segment of sustainable tourism, improved rights of cultural workers and infrastructure of culture facilities; increased public participation in culture; an anti-discriminatory environment for cultural expression and diversity, an effective system in place for protecting cultural heritage in line with international standards, increased number of listed properties and their better maintenance; cultural heritage as an economic resource and driver of development.

The culture policy has a prominent place also in the Medium-term Government Work Programme 2018-2020 under Priority 3: Montenegro – a country that fosters the development of science, education and culture for better economic growth, setting the objectives of promoting Montenegro as an appealing film-making destination; putting cultural heritage to economic and tourism purposes by means of, among other things, public-private partnerships; promote Montenegro’s cultural identity and multiculturalism; and develop creative industries as a driver for economic progress.

In the Development Directions for Montenegro 2018-2021, promotion of culture as a driver of growth and culture tourism is an integral part of the priority area – Smart Growth. This overarching strategy document notes that cultural resources must be harnessed and put in the function of sustainable development, particularly by encouraging the growth of cultural tourism. The Development Directions make a direct reference to the National Culture Development Programme 2016-2020, as the key sector-specific document which sets the following goals: improve the legal and institutional frameworks; improve cultural activities; build staffing capacities; stable sources of funding and putting in place the assumptions for tapping into alternative sources; cross-sectoral linkages; balanced culture development; international collaboration and funding; protection and promotion of diversity of cultural expressions.

An important segment in promotion of Montenegrin culture is seen in the perspectives offered by tourism services; thus, the Culture Tourism Development Programme 2019-2021 sets the goal of promoting Montenegro as a desirable year-round destination by improving culture tourism supply and tapping into cultural heritage, and developing the infrastructure needed for the culture tourism.

Together with other Western Balkan countries, Montenegro is a part of the RCC programme – Tourism Development and Promotion co-financed by the European Union and aiming, among other things, at creating internationally competitive cultural tourism products in the economies of the RCC countries to attract more visitors to the Western Balkan region, to result in greater revenues, development and jobs.

Harnessing the potential of cultural heritage requires cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach and interactions of history, architecture, economy, science and innovation, as best testified by the ArcheoLab project in the Doclea Valley, Montenegro (2017 campaign). Archaeology, technology and future prospects project which was promoted in the thematic issue of the Archeologia e calcolatori journal on 3 October 2019, in collaboration among the Historic Institute of the University of Montenegro, the Institute for Technologies in Cultural Heritage of the National Research Council of Italy and the Italian Embassy to Montenegro. The project focuses on the use of innovative technologies in researching the archaeological site of Doclea with the ultimate goal of affirming the need to preserve the artistic and historic values of that segment of Montenegrin cultural heritage and come up with the most effective management model.

The NSDS by 2030 includes among the key challenges for the development of culture, primarily insufficient appropriations for culture; lack of capacities of state institutions and other formal and informal actors in culture policy to take into account cultural needs of youth, elderly and marginalised groups, and that infrastructural capacities of cultural facilities are at a low level. As regards cultural heritage, the absence of an effective protection system was noted, together with unsatisfactory staffing and expert capacities of heritage bodies, as well as the failure to recognise heritage as a driver of sustainable development.

The 2019 EC Report on Montenegro highlighted the need to maintain world heritage status for Kotor, but also commended the country’s participation in the Creative Europe Programme.

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