COVID-19 Response

Protecting the diversity of cultural expressions is more important than ever

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and magnified the creative industries’ pre-existing volatility. Due to the complex nature of their work, artists and cultural professionals are particularly affected and lockdown measures around the world directly impact the entire creative value chain – creation, production, distribution and access. To protect and promote a diversity of cultural expressions in these challenging times, governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector have been quick to react with new policies and measures. This page intends to become a reference for those seeking to draw inspiration from best practices in the development of appropriate responses adapted to national contexts.

The crisis has accelerated the digitization and online consumption of cultural content, creating new and unprecedented challenges for the diversity of cultural expressions. Now, more than ever, the status of artists must be upheld, strengthened, and reinforced through legislative and material means. As decisions taken now are likely to shape our world for years to come, it is imperative to be strategic, drawing on principles from the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) and the Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist (1980).

As of today, the vast majority of policies and measures have been designed to provide financial relief. Few policies or measures have addressed the underlying issue: the social and economic rights that artists and cultural professionals should enjoy, like so many other workers, including unemployment benefits, health insurance and social security.

This dynamic webpage builds upon the 2005 Convention’s Policy Monitoring Platform , currently featuring over 2000 policies and measures reported by States Parties to the 2005 Convention, that will be progressively enriched with additional reported measures that address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The policies and measure listed on this dynamic page will be classified into three main categories:

  • Ensuring income for artists and cultural professionals
  • Compensating operational losses and supporting new production
  • Creativity as a form of resilience

It will be crucial for States that do not have policies to protect the social and economic rights of artists and cultural professionals to consider adopting appropriate measures, as advocated by the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist. For more information on the state of working conditions for artists, please consult our most recent publication Culture & working conditions for artists, and our latest publication, Freedom & Creativity: Defending art, defending diversity, which will be launched on 3 May on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

This dynamic webpage will be updated on a regular basis, as new measures are adopted. When the cultural and creative industries enter the recovery phase, this compendium of innovative practices will be developed into a toolkit in order to better prepare the culture sector for future crises.

The Secretariat of the 2005 Convention recognizes that in these times the propagation of incomplete, out-of-context or false information is possible. While remaining vigilant, we invite stakeholders to inform convention2005@unesco.org of any errors or omissions, or to share information that will contribute to a better understanding of the policy or measure adopted.

** The policies and measures identified on this page are a small sample of the various policies and measured adopted. The ideas and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization. All currency conversions are based on the daily U.N. exchange rate at time of publishing.

Ensuring income for artists and cultural professionals

Compensating operational losses and supporting new production

Creativity as a form of resilience

COVID-19 Relief Measures