Cultural diversity

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Diversité culturelle et développement durable : « le développement durable passe par des lois équitables entre les pays »

Mme Michèle Gendreau-Massaloux, rectrice de l'Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) - le 19 novembre 2004 - 2004/11/19

In her interview with Ariane Poissonnier, a journalist for RFI, Mrs Gendreau-Massaloux re-examines the francophone concept of sustainable development, and lists the recommendations made by members of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) to the Heads of State and government of the Member States of La Francophonie were brought together within the framework of the 10th Summit of La Francophonie . She emphasizes that diversity is part of the message of sustainable development and that the strategies leading each society towards sustainable development are a result of relationships between countries, which are not based on the law of the stronger country being imposed upon the weaker ones. She also states that the concept of sustainable development defended by AUF is not monolithic. According to her, "We cannot dissociate this vision of sustainable development from the great momentum gained by La Francophonie in promoting the creation, within UNESCO, of a legal instrument to protect cultural goods and expressions. The world Trade Organization (WTO) provides useful tools for trade development, but La Francophonie will not support the WTO without specific guarantees for cultural goods. For it is not through developing economic liberalism that the cultural production of masks in a Gabonese village, for example, which express traditions and an art form, will find its place in the global imagination. These objects speak - they provide a portrayal of ancestors, a power that could encourage anyone to display his creative temperament - and they speak in Europe as well as in America, Africa and Asia. We must encourage their distribution. The convention (.) will allow us to ensure that the distribution of cultural goods does not depend solely on WTO regulations.

This is why, Mrs. Gendreau-Massaloux maintains, La Francophonie supports the Convention on cultural diversity, and it has the means to ensure that the concept prevails on a global scale. She states, "The hegemonic temptation of all cultures seems to be a universal rule. As a result, Anglo-Saxon culture is not any more invasive than other cultures; it seems so today because of its economic supremacy. It's not about preventing Anglo-Saxon culture from being strong and vital, but simply preventing cultural goods of American origin from gradually replacing goods that might be produced by men and women who lack the same global representation, but are equally worthy and interesting. ( Available in French ) [84]