Cultural diversity

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Mission France-Québec au Mexique : « Front commun pour défendre la diversité culturelle »

Conseil national pour les arts et la cu lture du Mexique (CONACULTA), Mexico , le 22 novembre 2004 - 2004/11/22

Within the framework of the France-Mexico-Québec business mission in Mexico , a cultural diversity Day was held on 18 November and attended by hundreds of people. This tripartite meeting organized by the French, Mexican and Quebecker Ministers of Culture (including Mrs Line Beauchamp, for Québec, and Mr Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, for France) was presided over by the Chairperson of CONACULTA, Mrs Aseveró Sari Bermúdez, and the Prime Ministers of France and of Québec, Mr Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Mr Jean Charest. During this meeting, Mr Raffarin stated that France, Mexico and Québec would lead the struggle on the international scene together and side by side, to convince a majority of countries of the importance of excluding culture from trade agreements. He particularly affirmed: "We share and defend this common cause that the General Conference of UNESCO will adopt in 2005; we will defend cultural values wholeheartedly so that they are not seen simply as commodities (.) Together, with this three-member platform, we will be at the forefront of international initiatives to mobilize a majority of countries. The responsibility of Mexico, of France and of Québec needs to be combined in order for this joint struggle to be led". In his opinion, globalization accompanied by the risk of cultural homogenization is a threat to cultural diversity and national identities, which is why we must be able to organize networks and alliances with the greatest possible number of countries. In this respect, the draft convention of UNESCO sets out three basic objectives: the acknowledgement that cultural items and services must not be seen as commodities; the drafting of cultural policies to sustain any form of artistic creation; and the impetus to international cultural cooperation, to assist with the defence of cultural diversity, mainly with developing countries. This is an ambitious prospect to which we wish to give concrete expression together, stated Mr Raffarin.

Before him, the Prime Minister of Québec, Mr Jean Charest, spoke to the crowd "in the name of the people who embody this mission to protect cultural diversity". The main proposals of those present at the meeting can be summed up as follows: the importance of adopting the draft convention at the General Conference of UNESCO in 2005 so that it counterbalances the trade agreements of the WTO; to create public policies that promote cultural diversity and cultural industries in a world in which culture is becoming more and more standardized; to acknowledge cultural industries and creators as elements of social cohesion and generators of wealth; to promote measures that stimulate the creation of cultural industries and that support them; to give them priority within the framework of international cooperation; to make globalization human; to acknowledge the role of civil society in this area. ( Available in Spanish ) [82]