Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

The UNESCO Draft Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions : "A precondition to the emergence of viable cultural industries"

Abdou Diouf, Secrétaire général de l'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF),Paris, 11 octobre 2005 – 2005/10/11

In a speech last October 11 in Paris to mark the 20th anniversary of ADIFLOR (Association pour la diffusion internationale francophone de livres, ouvrages et revues), Francophonie secretary-general Abdou Diouf declared that “the Francophonie supports and defends the idea that a forceful policy is necessary for cultural diversity—the concept of which nobody openly contests—to thrive at the global level.”

As Mr. Diouf explained, “We have seen that growth in the communications, information, and audiovisual industries has been accompanied by the massive and uninterrupted dissemination of cultural products in an almost single direction. If we fail to act, this will inevitably lead to the disappearance of numerous cultural expressions, or their frightened withdrawal into communities cut off from the world. This is why we have so ardently, and even stubbornly, wished for the adoption of the International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions now under study at UNESCO. Only such a convention will enable countries that so wish to set out ambitious cultural policies backed by production and dissemination support mechanisms and regulating the inward and outward flow of cultural products. But such a convention must have clear authority in relation to other international commitments made by signatory states, and must be quickly ratified. This is a precondition to the emergence of viable cultural industries, particularly in the South, whose countries have not yet sufficiently harnessed the resources made available to them by the extraordinary wealth of their heritage and artistic talents.”