Syria/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation

Cooperation between ministries or government bodies involved in culture is limited to signing short-term memorandums of understanding for the purpose of implementing a certain project or carrying out a certain activity without any long-term strategic dimension.

In most cases, and in order to execute such agreements between the ministries, a joint committee is formed under the supervision of the legal departments in the concerned ministries to write down an understanding memorandum, after the official signature of this partnership, another joint committee is assigned to coordinate for the execution of the project in accordance with the agreement items.

Within the coordination frame in-between the ministries, it has to be pointed out that there are authorities granted to certain ministries to supervise certain sides of the other ministries work in accordance with the internal bylaws which regulates the ministerial work.

One of the obvious examples of such kind of custody is the Ministry of Finance, it assigns in each directorate of the Ministry of Culture’s (also in the other state directorates) an accountant related to it, he/she manages the internal financial affairs of the ministry that he/she is assigned to under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance.

Based on the report issued by the State Planning Commission (SPC) after the end of the 9th Five-year plan: “it is considered that the poor coordination between the ministries or government bodies involved in culture and art in Syria, is an indicator of the poor implementation of FYPs”. This poor coordination is evident on the interference of internal systems of governmental institutions and their administrative dualsubordination, in addition to constituting similar and overlapping projects without coordination between various ministries and commissions.

First level of overlapping: overlapping in proposed inter-ministerial cooperation projects

The huge amount of coordination leads to interference between projects adopted by different ministries, examples worth mentioning:

The Ministry of Culture is working on an understanding memorandum with the Ministry of Education for the development of School Theater, this is a project which aims in general to offering a theater training for the public schools students, and introducing cadres from the Music and Theater Directorate to the scholar theaters. At the same time the Ministry of Education is working together with the Syrian Development Trust on signing an understanding memorandum with a Swiss donator, which is considered an ideal case for studying cooperation between public and private sectors.

The lack of coordination between the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism is noticeable, since the 10th FYP is allocating “twice the coordination relations between the Cultural and the Touristic sectors” which clearly affects the volume and the income of the cultural tourism.

Second level of overlapping: overlapping in the governing rules of government institutions and their administrative repercussions:

Example: there are many cultural centers in the Syrian Arab Republic, these centers in most Syrian cities, are the only cultural spaces outside the capital centralization. But it is subsidiary of two parties, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Local Administration, through the local cultural directorates in the provinces which abstracts the real efficiency of these cultural centers.

Chapter published: 06-05-2016