Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Draft Convention on the protection of cultural contents and artistic expressions under debate at UNESCO

Koïchiro Matsuura, Directeur général de l’UNESCO, Paris, le 31 janvier 2005

The Second session of the intergovernmental meeting of experts on the Preliminary Draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions opened with UNESCO and will continue until next 12 February. The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, opened the 2nd session of negotiations with a short speech on the work undertaken since the last General Conference in October 2003. In his address, to some 600 experts representing the Member States of UNESCO, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, Mr Matsuura invited them « never to lose sight, during the debates », the terms of reference entrusted in them mandate in October 2003 by the General Conference, which stated that the « that the question of cultural diversity as regards the protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions shall be the subject of an international convention ». « The nature of the instrument and its scope are thus precisely defined, and I think it would be hazardous, at this stage, to envisage modifying the terms », he added

Mr. Matsuura also acknowledged that the Drafting Committee’s work in December 2004 did not allow for the entire text to be examined or for fundamental choices to be made.  He expressed his desire for this session to promote consensus on as many points as possible and affirmed his commitment to submit a preliminary report and a preliminary draft convention for the 33rd General Conference in October 2005 to Member States by March 3rd, as is provided for by the organization’s regulations.  Although he is aware that the Second session of the intergovernmental meeting of experts will be difficult and may not lead to the result he hopes for, Matsuura said that he was ready to refer the matter to the April 2005 Executive Board and call for a Third session of the intergovernmental meeting of experts if necessary.

In concluding, Mr Matsuura expressed the hope that  « you will make the most of the months of effort put into the success of this project, which has, as I have already pointed out, aroused considerable interest in the international community in its entirety. Cultural diversity is now a part of each individual’s consciousness. After the success of the conventions relating to the preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, let us give this project every chance, so that it can complete the set of instruments in place, by finding the ways and means to guarantee the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions, which constitutes a vital challenge for the future of our societies ». [4]