Abdou Diouf, Secretary General, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), Paris, October 21, 2005 – 2005/10/21
OIF secretary-general Abdou Diouf hailed the adoption by the 33rd UNESCO General Conference of the International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which enjoyed overwhelming support from the French-speaking world. He stated that “The adoption of this Convention is proof that culture is not a mere commodity. This Convention must encourage signatory countries to develop and implement ambitious cultural policies. I am delighted to note that this agreement contains concrete provisions that should promote cultural development in developing countries.” Mr. Diouf called on OIF members to ratify the Convention quickly and overwhelmingly: “ La Francophonie will continue to fight for cultural diversity in the coming months. It is one of the preconditions for the emergence of viable cultural industries, notably in developing countries that have not yet realized the full value of their creative and cultural heritage,” he said.
The OIF press release on the topic points out that La Francophonie, which has played a pioneering role on the issue, has made cultural diversity a strategic priority. “Since the Mauritius Summit in 1993, La Francophonie has supported the concept of cultural exception. In Moncton in 1999, heads of state and government asserted the right of each country and government to freely determine its cultural policies. On June 15, 2001, at the close of the 3rd Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie in Cotonou, OIF ministers called for the creation of a legal instrument on cultural diversity for the first time. In Beirut in 2002 and Ouagadougou in 2005, the heads of state and government of La Francophonie decided to actively support adoption by UNESCO of an international convention on cultural diversity. La Francophonie has since coordinated its actions with partners from other linguistic communities as well as international civil society, such as the International Network on Cultural Policy (INCP). It has also worked closely with coalitions in favor of cultural diversity, which represent stakeholders from the world of culture in 31 different countries.”