Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Sensibilisation des états africains francophones membres du conseil exécutif de l’unesco à la nécessité de participer à l’élaboration d’un instrument juridique international sur la diversité culturelle

Rapport de mission de M. Ablassé Ouédraogo, Envoyé spécial de l’Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie sur la diversité culturelle, Mars 2003, 39 p. – 2003/03

As part of this mission to francophone African country members of the UNESCO Executive Council to explain and raise awareness of the need to take part in developing an international legal instrument on cultural diversity, a rationale was drawn up together with recommendations and presented to various parties likely to receive the mission. The rationale insists on the need for a consensus on the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity. The report states in particular that cultural diversity is “in danger from globalization” and stresses the urgent need for action to ensure its protection. To accomplish this, two major challenges must be met without delay: “remain vigilant and cautious in trade negotiations, and set up a legal instrument on cultural diversity.” In this respect, UNESCO must act urgently given the timetable for multilateral trade negotiations under way at the WTO, which are slated to be completed by January 1, 2005. According to the report, “if nothing is done between now and then to set up the legal instrument aimed at preserving and promoting cultural diversity, questions on cultural development will likely only be dealt with by default and from the perspective of the WTO, an organization whose purpose, operations, and principles are based purely on trade.” It is therefore imperative that member countries of UNESCO, which supports the report, mobilize in the coming weeks—both on the occasion of the 166th Session of the Executive Council and the UNESCO General Council and in trade negotiations under way at the WTO—if they wish to afford themselves in any way at all the necessary and legitimate means to preserve and promote cultural diversity. “Only in this way will Humanity continue to prosper in peace and tolerance,” the report concludes. (Available in French only)