Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Followup to Rencontres cinématographiques de Beaune: Mobilization and support for cultural diversity

Communiqué final, 24 octobre 2004 - 2004/10/24

At the conclusion of the 14th “Rencontres Cinématographiques de Beaune” held October 21 to 24, 2004, cinema professionals issued a press release expressing their support for the UNESCO preliminary draft convention on cultural diversity . First, they applauded the inclusion in the future European Constitution of the principle of cultural and linguistic diversity among the European Union’s basic objectives, as well as the safeguard clause maintaining unanimity for trade agreements that may pose a threat to EU cultural and linguistic diversity. However, they expressed regret that no progress had been made regarding competition law provisions (government assistance) in order to preserve member state funding for film production.

As for the preliminary draft convention on cultural diversity, filmmakers commended UNESCO efforts to develop and adopt a International Convention related to the Protection of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions by 2005. They fully support the principle of enshrining the right to cultural diversity in international law to guarantee that public policies on culture are protected and promoted worldwide. They noted that to be effective, such a standard must have a direct effect, enjoy equal status with other international legal standards - including trade agreements - and include an effective dispute resolution mechanism. They called on UNESCO member states to revise Section 13 of the draft Convention to allow states party to the Convention to amend or terminate commitments under an international trade agreement without compensation or penalty when these commitments might affect Convention objectives and principles. They also called on member states to make the Convention legally binding. However, they observed that the Convention’s scope must remain limited to cultural policies and not be diluted during negotiations by overly broad definitions of culture. ( Available in French ) [78]