Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Projet de Convention sur la diversité culturelle - la société civile suisse est préoccupée

Commission suisse pour l'UNESCO, Berne, le 24 janvier 2005 – 2005/01/24

The second Swiss civil society hearing on the UNESCO’s Preliminary Draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions was held on January 20 in Bern and brought together over forty representatives from areas concerned, as well as several participants from the federal government.  At the end of the consultation, the Swiss civil society addressed a message to the federal government, solemnly expressing its concern over progress in the elaboration process of the text: “Following an encouraging start to discussions during the 2nd Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts in September 2004, obvious tensions have appeared between Member States, particularly during the Drafting Committee meetings, which took place in December 2004.  It also stresses its fear of a drift due to these tensions, which could seriously affect the entire process and be detrimental to the chances of seeing a satisfactory text adopted by the l’UNESCO General Conference in fall 2005.”

Nevertheless, participants of the consultation are pleased with the general stance Switzerland has taken thus far in the negotiation process.  However, “aware of the crucial importance of the current issues on the future of the planet, both in terms of safety and sustainable development,” they expressed to the Swiss delegation their sincere hope that, under these circumstances, it will be able to continue to support the promotion and protection of cultural diversity fully and with determination, and that it will in no way relax its efforts in helping to reach a favourable solution within the established timeframe.

More particularly, regarding the text of the preliminary draft Convention, the Swiss civil society again expressed its satisfaction that a significant number of points it had brought up during the first hearing were reflected in the comments issued by Switzerland to the Secretariat of UNESCO in November 2004.  However, in view of the upcoming deadlines, and particularly the next session of the Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts on the UNESCO’s preliminary draft Convention, it feels it considers it useful to reconsider four items it deems extremely important and urges the federal administration to favourably receive comments resulting from the second Swiss civil society hearing, and integrate them into the positions defended by the Swiss delegation with UNESCO. These points relate to : The sovereign right of states, rights and obligations (articles 5, 6 et 7); Relationships with other instruments (articles 13, 19 et 24); Responsibility and involvement of civil society (Preamble and article 11); international cooperation (articles 16, 17, 18). [05-03]