Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

At the UNESCO General Conference in October 2005, Switzerland will announce its support for the adoption of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Switzerland Federal Culture Bureau, Bern, September 21, 2005 – 2005/09/21

At the UNESCO General Conference in October 2005, Switzerland will announce its support for the adoption of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which it has supported throughout the drafting process. The declaration was made by the Federal Culture Bureau, which has actively represented Switzerland in UNESCO’s work on this issue to date.

According to the Bureau, cultural diversity is a major concern for Switzerland as “it is key to our understanding of the state and is rooted in our federal constitution.” In addition, the Bureau states that “while stringent international standards already exist for environmental protection (…), they are sorely lacking in international cultural policy. The Convention takes culture out of the legal vacuum and puts it the arena of international law, thanks to an instrument that recognizes the special role of cultural goods and services as vehicles of meaning, moral values, and identity.”

The Bureau also points out that “The goal of the Convention is to enhance the role of cultural diversity on the international scene (…), defined as a domestic policy objective. It lays out the rights and obligations of states in a binding international instrument. The protection of cultural diversity will thus carry as much weight in the international community as the protection of economic interests. The Convention is therefore not only about protecting and promoting cultural diversity, but also about recognizing the right of all states to enact provisions in this regard. It notably regulates matters dealing with the support and promotion of culture. In addition, the principle of the pluralism of the media and public radio broadcasting is written into the Convention—thanks in part to Switzerland’s initiative. And lastly, the Convention explicitly recognizes the essential role of civil society (NGOs, the media, etc.) in protecting and promoting cultural diversity.” [05-28]

 Contact : Andrea F. G. Raschèr, Head Legal and International Affa