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Regional Centre for Handicrafts

The duties and responsibilities of the CRAA, as defined in Regional Implementing Decree no. 29/2002/A of 2 October, converge in one overall, common aim - valuing traditional Azorean arts and crafts. Pursuing this objective involves working ceaselessly to ensure that craft workers are qualified in terms of knowledge and techniques, to promote quality products and services, to develop craft micro-enterprises and to dignify the status of the artisan and craft production units.

1. This desire to establish technically qualified craft workers is reflected in the plan to create an Arts and Craft Centre or School in which all vocational training in the region is organised. In the meantime, rather than waiting for the ideal moment to arise, the Regional Centre has sought, with the cooperation of other organisations (Capelas Vocational School, Campaign Against Poverty projects and Local Development Associations), to organise this training in response to the most pressing market demands whilst also contributing toward the training of a new generation of artisans endowed with technical and academic skills combined with traditional knowledge, entrepreneurial skills, cooperative ideas and pedagogical ability in order to ensure that traditional knowledge and techniques are passed on, particularly for crafts that are in serious danger of dying out.

The region's contribution towards organising and participating in seminars, conferences and other similar events has also been a useful means of acquiring and updating the knowledge that is attracting the interest of our artisans, now increasingly aware of their needs and limitations.

2. Promoting and publicising craft activities and products and guaranteeing their quality has led to support for their commercial development, which absorbs most of the technical and financial resources of the Centre, namely: the organisation of fairs, workshops and competitions; incentives to create a promotional image for traditional Azorean products via technical and commercial publications; the application of modern concepts to craft manufacturing processes; protecting product quality via Regional Legislative Decree no. 29/2002/A of 2 October establishing certification of traditional Azorean products, currently implemented in  Ordinances 89/98 of 3 December and 6/2000 of 27 January certifying embroidery and lace respectively. In this way we aim to respond to the countless requests for us to guarantee the quality, competitiveness and authenticity of hand-made Azores products.

3. The allocation of small incentives to craft micro-enterprises, which cannot be applied for under existing schemes, is another aspect of the work of the CRAA, through which this small craft production units can renovate their structures and equipment and thus boost production.

4. Dignification of the status of the craft worker underlies every aspect of the work of the Regional Centre for Handicrafts. As a member of the National Committee for the Promotion of Traditional Arts and Crafts (PPART), we also lend our support to what we believe is a new era in the craft sector, defined by legislation on the status of the craft worker and craft production units.

Constitutive Documents:

Six years after the 1st Government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores took up office in 1976, the first legislation regulating the craft sector in the region was introduced by the 2nd Government (Ordinance no. 72/82 of 28 December).

The practical application of this Ordinance led to the review and gradual adjustment of existing legislation on the needs of craft workers, granting them professional status firstly by the awarding of certificates and later through the craft worker's licence which has been in existence since 1988.

Under Regional Implementing Decree n.º 74/88/A of 6 December, the Regional Centre for Handicrafts, or CRAA, was created under the aegis of the Regional Secretary for Trade and Industry.

Regional Implementing Decree no. 29/2002/A of 2 October restructured the Regional Secretariat for the Economy and defined the Regional Centre for Handicrafts as an operational body with its own duties and responsibilities. Regional Implementing Decree n.º 74/88/A of 6 December was therefore revoked, with the exception of Article 6 establishing financial support for artisans.

Legislative Order no. 13/2004 of 18 March regulates the CRAA incentives scheme.

The Regional Centre is responsible for awarding craft worker and craft production unit licences on the following legal basis: Decree-Law no. 1/2001 of 9 February, with the amendment provided in Decree-Law no. 110/2002 of 16 April and adapted for the region by Regional Legislative Decree no. 19/2001/A of 12 November and amended by Regional Legislative Decrees nº 16/2003/A of 7 April and no. 12/2004/A of 23 March; Ordinance 1193/2003 of 13 October regulating the recognition process for craft workers and craft production units, supplemented within the region by Ordinance no. 20/2004 of 18 March.

Ordinance 89/98 of 3 December regulates the certification of quality in craft production in the Azores, which is also the responsibility of the CRAA.

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