Big data analysis of 4,287 cultural policy measures

Big data analysis conducted by ECOPER assesses 4,287 cultural measures and the alignment with the principles of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. While alignment increases in all signatory countries, data proves that financial support from Sweden makes a significant difference in developing countries.

Occurrences of 2005 Convention key words in policy measures submitted to the UNESCO policy monitoring platform

Country average by clusters of countries according to SIDA support North America and Europe excluded

Source: Big data analysis conducted by ECOPER on the 2005 Convention policy monitoring platform

The adoption of the 2005 Convention was a milestone in international cultural policy. While recognizing the sovereign right of states to maintain, adopt and implement policies and measures to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions, its signatory Parties committed to formulating such policies and measures on the basis of the Convention’s guiding principles. Such principles include promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms as a pre-requisite for the creation, production, distribution and enjoyment of diverse cultural expressions; informing policy design by concrete evidence and expertise; involving civil society; and ensuring transparency in policy design and implementation.

As part of the role played by the 2005 Convention Secretariat established within the UNESCO Culture Sector, an online policy monitoring platform has been set up and hosted at the UNESCO web page. The platform keeps record on signatory countries Quadrennial Periodic Reports on the implementation of the Convention, and related policy measures. In total, 4,287 measures were uploaded to the platform by parties to the 2005 Convention at the time of conducting this research.

The analysis informed on the occurrence of key terms related to the Convention’s principles (including its 11 areas of monitoring) in each policy measure. Occurrences were grouped by country and clusters of countries, according to SIDA support.

As per the graph above, it was found that all county clusters increased their alignment with the principles of the Convention between phase I (completed in 2018) and phase II (completed in 2021). More remarkably, it was found that countries receiving direct technical assistance from UNESCO on the basis of a development assistance agreement with the Swedish agency SIDA submit measures that are significantly more embedded with 20O5 Convention principles.

The big data analysis conducted by ECOPER with review and assistance from the UNESCO Culture Sector consisting in the following activities:

  • First, a dictionary of key terms of the UNESCO 2005 Convention was elaborated. The dictionary comprised thirty terms that all together reflected the thematic areas of the 2005 Convention and its principles related to the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, evidence-based participatory policymaking, diversity, transparency and civil society involvement.
  • Secondly, the occurrence of such terms was measured in 4,287 policy measures contained in the online platform,
  • Thirdly, the average occurrence per country and cluster of countries was calculated, considering the UNESCO monitoring and evaluation needs.

This finding not only provided positive feedback on the effectiveness of the SIDA-UNESCO cooperation agreement, but also opened new methodological avenues to impact assessment in development cooperation and technical assistance.