The 7th INCP Annual Ministerial Meeting concluded on October 17 in Shanghai, China. Twenty-one ministers of culture took part in the meeting, as well as delegates from 38 countries, and international organizations invited as observers, including UNESCO, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), thce European Council, and the European Union. This INCP meeting “was especially important” because it marked “the beginning of the negotiating process of the UNESCO Draft Convention on Cultural Diversity.” At the meeting, Chinese minister of culture Sun Jiazheng presented a three-step proposal on the promotion of cultural diversity. In his opinion, countries must protect their cultural vestiges and strengthen cooperation. At the same time, they must actively promote the establishment of an international agreement on cultural diversity, while safeguarding and developing their national cultures with a view to speeding up the cultural diversity process.
Making a positive assessment of the meeting, Switzerland contended that the final declaration of the summit was a “good foundation” for the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity. In the declaration, participants committed themselves to “supporting UNESCO in every way possible” to implement the agreement. They stressed the necessity of adopting the declaration at the organization’s next general meeting in 2005, “given the fast pace of globalization.” The declaration focuses on many areas of agreement among INCP member countries, including the “dual nature” of cultural goods (at once tradable and intangible), the right of countries to adopt measures to protect their cultures, and the need to entrench cultural diversity in the international legal system. Other questions must still be resolved. For Federal Office of Cultural Affairs (OFC) director David Streiff, this declaration is a “good foundation that can be presented to UNESCO Director-General” Koïchiro Matsuura. It also reflects the importance INCP has gained since its inception in 1998.
After the meeting concluded, the Chinese minister of culture stated at a press conference that the 7th INCP Annual Ministerial Meeting, at which participants discussed the protection of culture in the face of modernization, resulted in a consensus on four points: culture, as a spiritual treasure of countries and nations, remains a driving force of future development; more support must be given to developing countries in promoting their cultures; all peoples must innovate to advance their national cultures and thereby promote global cultural diversity; and all countries must attach more importance to the role of UNESCO and support the Draft Convention on the Protection and Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions . ( Available in French, Spanish )