Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Il nous faut maintenant ancrer dans le droit par une convention» les principes de la diversité culturelle

Discours de monsieur Jacques Chirac, president de la republique française, devant la 32ème conference generale de l’unesco
Paris, le 14 octobre 2003 – 2003/10/14

In this speech, French president Jacques Chirac urges the 32nd UNESCO General Conference to adopt an international convention on cultural diversity, assuring the United States that such a legal instrument would protect the specific nature of cultural production "and not constitute protectionism in any way." According to Mr. Chirac, this convention would be a new “extension of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that upholds the principles thereof” and would “recognize each country’s right to adopt or maintain the public policies necessary for the preservation and development of its cultural and linguistic heritage.” This convention would also affirm “the specific nature of cultural production” and “build international solidarity, which is necessary for this right to benefit everyone.” Mr. Chirac further states that this convention “will be the international community’s response to attempts to use peoples’ identities to isolate them by distorting popular traditions, thereby fomenting conflict and turning peoples against each other in order to dominate them.” Mr. Chirac stresses that “what applies to our countries applies to the world. Far from being a form of protectionism, the convention on cultural diversity, by enshrining respect, will ensure that ideas are more free to circulate.” Mr. Chirac added that “today, we expect UNESCO to lead the way and give meaning and a humanist purpose to the forces behind globalization.” (Available in French only)