Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Troisièmes Rencontres internationales des organisations professionnelles de la culture - Déclaration de Séoul

Korean Coalition for Cultural Diversity – 3 juin 2004 – 2004/06/03 

From June 1 to 4, 2004, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, the Third International Meeting of Cultural Professional Organizations brought together 400 delegates from 57 countries, from organizations representing authors, performers, composers, producers, technicians, musicians, writers, and fine arts and graphic artists, as well as independent film producers, publishers, radio and TV companies, and distributors.
The delegates adopted a final declaration agreeing on a number of principles, including “that cultural contents and artistic expressions are essential vehicles of a people’s identities, experiences, and values, and as such are innately different from other goods and services; that a balanced exchange of cultural contents and artistic expressions among all countries fundamentally contributes to a better understanding among peoples and in the process can contribute to a more cooperative and peaceful world, realizing the promise of a globalization that truly reflects the needs of humanity; that meaningful levels of domestic cultural production in all countries are an essential precondition for a balanced exchange of cultural goods and services among countries at the international level; that market forces alone will not ensure meaningful levels of cultural creation and production in each country, and for this reason states must be able to continue to pursue unencumbered cultural policies, including public service institutions, that ensure culture is created and extensively circulated within their own country and around the world; that for all these reasons, cultural goods must not be subordinated to the rules of international trade agreements—whether by the World Trade Organization (WTO) or at the regional or bilateral level—and the sovereign rights of states to have cultural policies must be unequivocally affirmed in international law through a convention on diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions, now being developed at UNESCO, that would reaffirm the sovereign right of states to have cultural policies, while fully respecting human rights, freedom of expression, and artistic creation.”
Accordingly, the delegates exhorted government leaders to “resist the pressure from international trade negotiations—whether at WTO or at the regional or bilateral levels—by abstaining from liberalization commitments affecting culture that would jeopardize their country’s ability to enact cultural policies; and to build support for the process now under way at UNESCO to ensure that the convention on cultural diversity contents and artistic expressions is a strong convention—a legally binding instrument—and is adopted at the UNESCO 33rd General Conference in 2005.” [63] (Available in French)