Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Lettre de São Paulo - PremièreRencontre des Ministres de la Culture du Forum Culturel Mondial

First World Cultural Forum - 26 juin - 4 juillet 2004, São Paulo, Brésil - le 1er juillet de 2004 – 2004/07/01

Representatives of governments, the economy, and non-governmental organizations the world over met from June 26 to July 4, 2004, in São Paulo, Brazil, for the first World Cultural Forum to discuss cultural politics and how to find a balance between globalization and cultural diversity, and to promote heightened support of art and culture as catalysts to a more just and peaceful world. The main goals of the Forum were the following: to create a platform for group initiatives that promote culture and economic and social development; to create an efficient network of information on topics related to cultural and economic development; to create a forum for sharing information and experience; to research, monitor, and identify the current state of the arts and culture both regionally and globally; to generate new support mechanisms for cultural initiatives; to develop and promote access to cultural markets; to sustain regional and international cultural initiatives by promoting intercultural understanding, peace, and development; and to serve as a global amphitheater for cultural activities and debates. The World Cultural Forum of São Paolo is not only an event but also a process open to new initiatives, their development, and other partnerings in Brazil, Latin America and the entire world. Participation in this process was structured in various ways: a global convention in the form of a five-day symposium on the most important topics, and on questions, themes, priorities, and goals of today’s culture and arts; a festival with international artistic programming; and a cultural marketplace of ideas and projects.

The World Cultural Forum of São Paulo paid particular geopolitical and cultural attention to countries, regions, and situations and organized an International Conference of Ministers of Culture around the world. As a result of this first meeting of ministers of culture of the World Cultural Forum, the ministers of culture (or their representatives) of Algeria, Austria, Spain, Mali, and Mexico have decided to share with other participants at the event and to submit to multilateral authorities and to the ministers of culture of all countries the “Lettre de São Paulo” in which they declare «that culture is one of the dimensions of human development, and that economic growth, international exchanges of economic and cultural goods, services, and contents must be culturally sustainable; that culture and creative industries play an important role in income and employment generation, and in the qualification of relations amongst individuals, and in the peace-building process among countries; that globalization, world trade, and markets must respect the cultural rights of societies, social groups, and individuals, contributing to diversity and not hegemony; and that new communication technologies facilitate dialog between civilizations and cultures and broaden the possibility of circulating cultural products, services, and contents and, therefore, to guarantee cultural diversity and free access to all economic benefits generated, with no monopolies or imbalances, these flows being regulated by legitimate international entities to be created for this purpose within the United Nations.”
Moreover, the ministers of culture commit themselves publicly to “promoting diverse cultural spaces of cultural and social inclusion in which innovative ideas circulate and artistic and intellectual unrest is shared, thus contributing to the regulation, structuring, and momentum of creative industries in our countries; prioritizing the development of bilateral and multilateral agreements, policies, and funds that foster production and cultural exchange in a balanced way amongst our countries and the other countries of the planet, aiming at a healthy interchange of cultural goods and services, both between North and South as well as South-South; advocating a specific and differentiated treatment of cultural goods and services in the agreements of trade liberalization under way in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and, on the basis of the conceptual context proposed by UNESCO, fighting for the creation of institutional spaces that may assure that cultural exchanges occur within regulatory frameworks appropriate to the material or immaterial nature of the cultural goods and services, according to the principle of identity protection, cultural diversity, and the traditional knowledge of countries; supporting UNESCO in its fundamental initiative of establishing, in agreement among the UN member countries, an International Convention for the Protection of Cultural Diversity, scheduled for the 2005 General Conference, and to promote the adherence of member countries to the Immaterial Heritage Convention; and contributing to the creation of an international economic and cultural exchange system based on democracy, equal opportunity, the correcting of imbalances, a respect for differences and for human rights, and full dialog between cultures, aiming at the consolidation and promotion of a culture of peace.” [63] (Available in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese)

Lettre de São Paulo :