A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


Students of affiliate university member, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), had the opportunity to attend Vi's first videoconference on UNCTAD’s Creative Economy Report (CER), held April 28. The presentation was given by the main co-author of the report herself, Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities.

Moderated by Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku, and MGIMO’s Vi member coordinator, Anna Abramova (MGIMO), the videoconference involved approximately 20 students and counted with the participation of Dmitry Lyakishev, of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation in Geneva.

The CER 2010 examines creative industries, which produce and distribute goods and services derived from creative ideas and intellectual capital. UNCTAD classifies these industries into four main groups: heritage (archaeological sites, museums, festivals and celebrations), arts (opera, live music, painting and photography), media (publishing, audio and video) and functional creations (design, fashion, jewelry, video games, etc.).

According to the report, globalization and connectivity have further facilitated a contemporary lifestyle rooted in the creative economy. "Evidence suggests that even during the global recession, people continued to go to cinemas and museums, listen to music, watch videos and TV shows, play video games, etc.," states the CER.

"The demand for creative products," dos Santos-Duisenberg pointed out, "emanates from two main groups: the younger generation, with teenagers transferring creative content and music via mobile phones, to elderly or retired people who have more time to devote to culture, leisure and entertainment."

The CER reports that all regions and economic country groups benefitted from the creative economy, with exports worth USD592 billion in 2008. While developed countries raked up 90 percent for audiovisuals and music, 80 percent for publishing and media, and 75 percent for visual arts, developing countries have 65 percent of the market for art crafts, and are gaining market shares in new media and design -- nearly 50 percent in 2008.

Economies in transition are lagging, with only 1 percent of the world market for creative goods, but governments are beginning to take measures to bring their cultural heritage and creative goods to the forefront. Russia's allocation to its world-famous Bolshoi Theater, for example, has increased from USD12 million in 2000, to more than USD45 million today. And, after innovative marketing and online ticket sales, the annual takings of the theather have gone from USD2 million to USD11 million. 

The presentation concluded with an overview of lessons learned and policy recommendations from the report, such as beefing up current intellectual property rights regimes. Dos Santos-Duisenberg also said governments should provide an enabling environment for enhancing creative potential by improving access to ICT, promoting public/private partnerships and supporting SMEs.

"The topic is relatively new and taking into consideration that Master's students have the course on international trade in intellectual property they were very interested in the issue," Abramova writes in appreciation of the videoconference. "Such events are very precious for us."