Cultural diversity

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Première réunion du Comité de rédaction sur l'avant-projet de Convention sur la protection de la diversité des contenus culturels et des expressions artistiques

M. Koïchiro Matsuura, Directeur général de l'UNESCO, le 14 décembre 2004 - 2004/12/14

The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, opened the first meeting of the Drafting Committee for the Preliminary Draft Convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions on 14 December 2004 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. This Committee met at UNESCO from December 14-17, 2004, with the goal of proposing, "formulations in clear legal language that betray the positions of no-one while seeking to produce a synthesis of the essential points", on the basis of the comments received from Member States, the concerned international organizations (UNCTAD, WTO and WIPO) as well as several non-governmental organizations, said Matsuura. Stating that he was satisfied with the contributions received from UNCTAD and WIPO, Matsuura also stressed the "excellent atmosphere of trust" that had been built up with WTO since the work of drafting the Convention had begun. "As soon as the Director-General of WTO received the draft last July, the WTO Secretariat organized, on November 11, 2004 an informal meeting of heads of delegation chaired by the Director-General of WTO, at which UNESCO was represented so as to collate effectively their viewpoints on the preliminary draft. The synthesis of the declarations of the Member States of WTO was communicated to UNESCO, which also received more than sixty contributions of the States, in the form of comments, observations and amendments on the preliminary draft, as well as important contributions of nongovernmental organizations. In this regard, Matsuura stated, «Taking into account the vital role that exploits the civil society in the promotion of the debate on the culture and universalization of their impact on the development, the comments of ONG deserve our detailed attention, as well as regards the echo as they constitutes voice of the professionals of the culture as of that of the defenders of the human rights».

Recalling that some 600 participants representing 132 Member States as well as a number of international organizations, NGOs and civil society representatives had brought together the first session of the intergovernmental meeting last September, Matsuura underscored the interest sparked by this project. « The exciting and constructive debates that took place made it possible to see how attached Member States are to the principal objectives of the Convention, whose aim is to take appropriate steps to create a framework conducive to a thriving diversity of cultural expressions, the main vectors of which are cultural goods and services, the specific nature of which thus needs to be recognized. As a result, among the Convention's core objectives is also that of strengthening international cooperation and solidarity in a spirit of worldwide partnership ».

Speaking to the members of the Drafting Committee, Mr Matsuura said: "You are asked to weigh the scope of each term, each expression. Your task is no easy one. You will certainly find yourselves obliged to propose alternative wording whenever irreconcilable differences spring up. But in many cases, I am sure you will find the consensus formula that reflects the thoughts and opinions of all. The task you are undertaking, as you well know, is thus a daunting challenge: the position of each Member State must, under your drafting pen, find its rightful place. Impartiality combined with flexibility will therefore be your only assets as you tackle this delicate challenge."

The revised version of the preliminary draft of Convention will be sent to the Member States right before Christmas, and will be accompanied by the invitation letter for the second session of the meeting of government experts envisaged by January 31 at February 12, 2005. The preliminary draft of Convention will be in particular dispatched in the States concerned two weeks before the opening of the meeting. ( Available in French and English ). [85]