Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Paris, le 8 juin 2005 – 2005/06/08
Before Madrid, where some fifty ministers of culture are expected on June 11 and 12, 2005, including those from Spain, Brazil, France, and China, an “Asia-Europe dialog” (ASEM) was held in Paris on June 7 and 8, 2005. Delegations from thirty-six countries, from Poland to Malaysia, took part in four workshops designed to reflect work at the UNESCO intergovernmental meeting. “For cultural diversity supporters, this is primarily an opportunity to explain and keep up the pressure on the UNESCO draft convention.” At the close of the meeting, participants adopted a Chairman’s Declaration and fifteen-point Action Plan by ministers of culture. The final declaration “reiterates the desire of many countries in Asia and Europe to give full consideration to the distinct nature of cultural goods and services, both by affirming the right of states to establish policies to protect and promote this diversity and by strengthening cooperation between developed and developing countries.” The ASEM Conference of Ministers of Culture also asked ASEM to help make this convention applicable and play an active role in preserving and developing cultural diversity.
As noted by French minister of culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, the Chairman’s Declaration echoes the contributions of many delegates who were satisfied with the outcome of the last UNESCO intergovernmental meeting. This meeting was a decisive step toward adoption by the next UNESCO General Conference of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. But, he cautioned, “We cannot stop at celebrating today, because the process is not over. Our meeting was all the more important because it enabled us to promote adoption of the Convention in October. Until then, we must continue our unflagging efforts to explain and convince. The meeting that will be held in Madrid at the end of the week with ministers from French-, Spanish-, and Portuguese-speaking countries will be a good opportunity for this. It is essential that such a convention become part of the international legal system as the first building block in a true international cultural law, in the same sense as international health or environmental law, because culture is also essential to human development and progress.” [05-18]