On Wednesday, July 19, the forum “National Policies for Books and Reading in Central America” was held, where the “Centroamérica Lectora” project was presented. This initiative is implemented by UNESCO, in collaboration with the Regional Center for the Promotion of Books in Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLALC), thanks to the financial support of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID).
The project focuses on strengthening the book, reading, and library ecosystems in Central America through technical assistance and collaboration with cultural authorities and civil society. The initiative aims to promote reading enjoyment and facilitate access to books for all people in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.
Through “Centroamérica Lectora,” the project seeks to create a conducive environment for the development of the publishing industry: a prominent sector of the creative economy, which is crucial for enhancing the contributions of culture to sustainable development. Additionally, information is collected about the state of the publishing sector to promote the design and development of public policies related to books, reading, and libraries.
The project recognizes the importance of reading practices, book production and circulation, as well as the cultural and educational functions of libraries. Therefore, multidimensional actions are proposed to promote reading and the development of national book sectors as one of the main cultural and creative industries, providing specialized knowledge in policy-making and fostering the exchange of best practices in the region.
The event was moderated by Francisco Thaine, Strategic Manager of CERLALC, and had the participation of Annarella Vélez, Secretary of State for Cultures, Arts, and Heritage of the Peoples of Honduras, and Eric Doradea, Deputy Minister of Culture of El Salvador.
UNESCO was represented by Caroline Munier, Program Specialist of the Entity of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. She referred to the link of this project with the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, known as the 2005 Convention, and how the project fits into the efforts of Central American integration through culture.
“Books are fundamental tools to open minds, promote cultural and human diversity, as well as stimulate critical thinking, recognizing the enormous potential that the book industry holds in the region,” she emphasized.
During the event, Gina Tovar, Technical Leader of the “Centroamérica Lectora” project, shared the objectives and scope of the initiative, which seeks to promote the development of national policies for books and reading in the region.