Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

The 171 st session of UNESCO’s Executive Board : Report by the Director-General on the Draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions

Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Paris, April 18, 2005 – 2005/04/18

The 171 st session of UNESCO’s Executive Board began on April 12 in Paris. In this framework, the members of the Executive Board examined item 19 on the agenda concerning the draft convention on the diversity of cultural expressions being developed . A document is transmitted to the Members of the Executive Board, in addition to the Report by the Director-General on the progress towards the Draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions (171 EX/44), Annex III to which contains the Preliminary Report by the Director-General (CLT/CPD/2005/CONF.203/6) addressed to the Member States on 3 March 2005. The Preliminary Report envisages two appendices. Appendix I, entitled “Draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions – A Composite Text”, consists of a text reflecting the progress made following the second session of the Intergovernmental Meeting and showing the progress made, together with the work still to be done. This “composite” text has already been communicated to the Member States with the dispatch of the above-mentioned Preliminary Report

Appendix II, entitled “Draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions – A Consolidated Text”, is being prepared by the Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts, pursuant to the recommendation of the latter at its second session. This “consolidated text” had been announced in the aforesaid Preliminary Report as due to be sent “shortly”. The Director-General submits, for the information of the Members of the Executive Board, the two drafts of the Convention, which are complementary and should be read together. According to him, these two documents (Appendix I & Appendix II) « should be regarded as a working draft enabling Member States to pursue their future deliberations in a federator spirit ».

In his speech , the Director-General declares, in particular, that the year 2005 marks an important stage for UNESCO in the area of culture: “There is another aspect of cultural diversity on which UNESCO has been called to concentrate over the past two years: the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions (…) If, as I hope and pray, we manage to draft the text of a Convention that is approved by all and provides effective measures of solidarity to meet the challenges facing the diversity of cultural and artistic expressions in our contemporary world, we will have achieved a lofty goal. Indeed, with the Conventions of 1972 and 2003, the international community is now equipped with ways to preserve the cultural expressions and testimonies that we have inherited through history and tradition. With the current Convention, today’s expressions of creativity will extend this initiative and prefigure the heritage of tomorrow, which will be preserved. Accordingly, by the end of 2005, the international community will be much better equipped to safeguard cultural diversity than in early 2000.” This is the spirit in which Mr. Matsuura asks the Executive Board to authorize him to convene a third session of the Intergovernmental Meeting, to continue work undertaken. [05-11]