Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Avant-projet de Convention de l’UNESCO sur la diversité culturelle : Les gouvernements du Canada et du Québec consultent la société civile - Bilan de la rencontre

Communiqué conjoint, ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec et ministère du Patrimoine canadien, Montréal, le 31 août 2004 - 2004/08/31

Canadian Heritage minister Liza Frulla and Québec minister of culture and communications Line Beauchamp have decided to seek civil society’s opinion on the draft convention during a roundtable discussion held in Montréal on August 31, 2004. The meeting was part of the efforts that have been undertaken to promote and support the draft of UNESCO's Convention, which will be the subject of the next intergovernmental meeting, from September 20 to 25 in Paris. During the meeting, «Canada and Quebec have clearly stated their intention of working in close cooperation with civil society to ensure that their interests are fully considered in intergovernmental discussions», and «to ensure that the Convention sets clear rules and gives all countries the right to adopt policies intended to promote cultural contents, while ensuring a smooth interrelation between the Convention and the international trade system».

Ministers Frulla and Beauchamp« have committed themselves to work in close cooperation so that the Director General of UNESCO will be able to submit a draft and have it adopted at the General Conference in September 2005». In this regard, «The Ministers and the other roundtable participants have agreed to carry on discussions based on the preliminary draft submitted by UNESCO in July. They have also recognized the need to adopt an efficient process that would allow States to adopt the Convention at UNESCO's General Conference in 2005».

Ms Frulla declared that «We cannot promote culture without considering the artists and creative people behind it. They must remain at the very centre of our efforts, our programs and our policies. The type of discussion we had today enables us to broaden the consensus by taking the concerns of the cultural sector into account». Mme Beauchamp also recalled that the goal is to obtain a Convention by the end of 2005 : «In this respect, the UNESCO draft provides a basis for discussion that must be enriched by the participation of civil society. Today's meeting with representatives of our cultural sectors has provided essential insight and helped to advance a cause we share, to ensure the right of States to support cultural expressions and our creators», she declared.

At the press conference, federal Heritage minister Liza Frulla invited Canada’s provinces “to take a more activist role, somewhat like Québec, in defending the diversity of cultural expression,” while Pierre Curzi, co-president of the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity, confirmed that the consultation with civil society had been “extremely productive.” “Everybody did a great job in their respective roles, ours being to express more concern than everyone else, to question every word, and to ensure that the principles we stand for are all clearly set out in internationally and legally relevant language in the draft convention.” (Available in French and English) [70]