Cultural diversity

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UNESCO draft convention: Line Beauchamp raises awareness about cultural diversity

Line Beauchamp, minister of Culture and Communications , Quebec , February 11, 2005 - 2005/02/11

La Presse canadienne reports that Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications, Mrs. Line Beauchamp, continued to raise awareness about cultural diversity with British officials in London before attending the 2nd Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts charged to draw up future Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions in Paris. Pleased with the "progress" made in recent days regarding the issue of cultural diversity, she states that, as expected, the work is "difficult and painstaking" but the "signs" are encouraging. "UNESCO is working within its timeframe. It is very important for us to see that nothing has gotten off-track regarding the schedule." She states that, as planned, the convention will be ready to be submitted to the general Conference of UNESCO the nearest autumn . In addition, in the results of their discussion, Mrs. Beauchamp sees the "foundations" of Quebec 's position: "No compromises were made on the issues we deem essential," she explains. On an issue as fundamental as the convention's "non-subordination" to other international treaties, particularly to WTO agreements, "no one gave up anything."

Moreover, one of Quebec and Canada 's major fears was that some countries would try to give the convention too large of a scope, by including, for example, the protection of certain traditions or religious identities. This danger was apparently dismissed, according to Mrs. Beauchamp. She explains, "The purpose of the convention was refocused. Discussions will continue on the right issues." The government Experts will meet again in May. This time, they will tackle the definitions of the notions of cultural goods and services and cultural protection. The Minister concludes, "We are getting the heart of the issue," and warns that Quebec and Canada remain "on the offensive." [05-05]