Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Round II of UNESCO Talks : Coalitions Present Joint Position During UNESCO Debates

Coalition Currents , Vol. 3, No. 2, February 2005 – 2005/02

This ILC’s Bulletin reports that Over the course of the 11 days of negotiations during UNESCO Second intergovernmental experts’ session, representatives of the now 21 national coalitions for cultural diversity made several interventions with respect to key articles in the proposed UNESCO convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions. The coalitions elected to concentrate their comments on the issues of the convention’s scope, objectives and principles, its rights and obligations, its ultimate relationship to other international instruments, and the importance of international cooperation. The coalitions’ comments were made on behalf of some 400 organizations representing performing artists, composers, directors, writers, visual artists, technicians, independent film, television and music producers and distributors, and independent publishers from 21 countries.

In fact, the interventions of the national coalitions for cultural diversity were based on a joint position developed at a January 26-27 meeting of the International Liaison Committee of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (ILC) in Paris . In this joint Position on the Preliminary Draft Convention on the protection of cultural contents and artistic expressions , the ILC explicitly requests that: Clearly focus the scope of the Convention; Affirm genuine rights and obligations for States; Put in place true international cooperation; Ensure States are coherent in their international commitments; Assign legal weight to the Convention; Create an effective dispute settlement mechanism; It is imperative that the Convention be ready for adoption at UNESCO’s next General Conference in October 2005 . On this point, the ILC stresses that the intense pressures being applied to culture in trade negotiations make it imperative that the Convention be adopted before the conclusion of the WTO’s current round of trade negotiations, as well as the proliferation of bilateral free trade agreements, pre-empts the Convention of its very purpose. It is therefore essential that States abstain from making liberalization requests or offers relating to culture in the context of the bilateral or multilateral negotiations now underway . [05-06]