Ministry of Cultural Development secretary Anthony Turua attended the meeting, which was held from May 15 to 18 in Nadi.
Turua said regional culture strategy was one of the issues discussed during the meeting.
“The council discussed phase two of the Regional Culture Strategy Investing in Pacific Cultures 2017-2020 and considered the re-prioritising of focus areas within the Regional Culture Strategy,” he said.
“The council also looked at the mainstreaming culture as one of the four priorities identified for phase two of the Regional Culture Strategy.”
Turua said the council noted the work of the Culture Working Group in considering the recommendations of the Regional Culture Strategy mid-term review.
He said the review provided a clear direction in terms of council priorities and key actions to address both at national and regional levels.
Mainstreaming culture was another key topic discussed by the council at the meeting.
Turua said the council had the opportunity to learn from the Pacific Community’s (SPC) experience in strengthening capacities on mainstreaming gender perspective across sectors.
He added that they were provided with elements to consider for supporting an enabling environment for mainstreaming culture.
“The council notes that even if policies related to culture are in place, without the capacity in terms of human and financial resources, and without a system in place to support the mainstreaming process and hold people accountable for the implementation of policies, their impacts are likely to be limited,” he said.
“Additionally, the council notes that mainstreaming culture does not take away that the culture, as a standalone sector, needs to be strengthened by the government and be developed further.”
A presentation on the preliminary results of the review of the work undertaken by SPC on culture was also made by an independent consultant commissioned to undertake the review.
Turua said the review aimed to examine the role of SPC in the sector in order to determine how the organisation can better support those countries involved.
“The review found strong support for the retention of the focussed work of SPC in the culture sector, as there is a lack of skills and resources at country level in this area and because SPC is providing services no other development partner can offer in the region.
“The support provided by SPC on the organisation and coordination of the Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC) was also seen as a key role of SPC.
“The council acknowledges the work done by SPC in collaboration with other CROP (Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific) agencies and UNESCO in advancing the work on culture in the region.”