Cultural diversity

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The Buenos Aires Declaration: Coalitions for cultural diversity urge adoption of Convention, launch plans for international federation

Coalition Currents , vol. 3, no. 6, September 2005 – 2005/09

“Support adoption of the UNESCO Convention.” “Resist overtures to reopen the negotiations.” “Commit to ratify the Convention on a priority basis.” “Set about translating its principles into real-world cultural policies at the national level.” These were key messages for governments during the Seventh General Assembly of the International Liaison Committee of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (ILC), held September 6 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In the declaration issued at the conclusion of the meeting, the coalitions for cultural diversity present in the five continents “call(ed) on all member states of UNESCO to adopt the Convention in October 2005 and to ratify it in 2006 to ensure it rapidly enters into effect.” Moreover, “t he coalitions further urge these governments to integrate into their own policies the principles set out in the Convention.” T he coalitions also “undertake to urge their own governments to maintain their strong support for the text of the Convention approved at the final intergovernmental experts meeting, and released by UNESCO’s Director-General on August 4, and to resist all pressures to reopen the negotiations and thereby either dilute the Convention or delay its adoption; continue to work to ensure that the Convention becomes an effective instrument for protecting and promoting the diversity of cultural expressions around the world, by seeking a sustainable development where we can evolve together, side by side; and advance this unprecedented movement of civil society from the cultural sector by establishing an International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity with an organizational structure favoring balanced representation by all regions of the world.”

At the Buenos Aires meeting, the coalitions also took stock of the rapid growth of the movement—30 coalitions are now in existence, almost triple the number from just one year ago—and agreed to start work on putting a more formal organizational structure in place to coordinate their activities. The meeting, hosted by Argentina’s coalition (the Forum for the Protection of Cultural Industries) was attended by representatives of ILC member coalitions. The coalitions were joined by leaders of key cultural organizations from Bolivia, Paraguay, and Venezuela actively working to establish new coalitions in their countries . The Coalitions Meeting was organized by the ILC Co-Secretariat, with financial support from the Canadian and French coalitions for diversity, and the generous support of the Culture Secretariat of the City of Buenos Aires, which also hosted two major meetings of its own on cultural diversity: the Third International Meeting on Cultural Diversity, which was also hosted by the City of Buenos Aires, and a meeting of the culture secretariats of the major cities of Ibero-America. [05-28]