Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Recall: Developing Countries and the Plan for an International Convention on Cultural Diversity - June 2003

At the opening moment in Bucharest, Romania on September 26 to 29 of the XI Francophonie Summit, on which occasion will be intensified the mobilization campaign in view of promoting the ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions by the Member States of the Francophonie, it is pertinent to underline the stakes that constitute this ratification for the Member States and in particular for developing countries.

In that respect, within the series of chronicles produced for the benefit of the Ministry of Culture and Communications of Québec, Mr. Ivan Bernier is an emeritus professor at Université Laval Faculty of Law in Québec, Canada, and he is one of the independent experts appointed by the UNESCO Director-General to develop the preliminary draft of this Convention, had published in June 2003 an excellent study on the matter, still very topical today.

In this study, he acknowledges the following: "At first glance, the issue of preserving cultural diversity in a time of economic globalization and liberalization of trade might appear to have little relation to the immediate concerns of developing countries. To the extent that these countries are interested in cultural diversity, this seems primarily because such diversity raises internal problems whose solution is perceived as linked to the improvement of their economic situation. From this we might easily conclude that for the countries in question, the need for an international convention on cultural diversity is not readily apparent. However, we must be careful not to draw this conclusion too hastily since (…) it is based on a simplistic view of the interest of developing countries, which fails to take into account the contribution of culture to economic development and ignores the dangers posed to the cultural development of these countries by the accelerated liberalization of commercial trade".

To do this, Mr. Bernier questions in turns the contribution of culture towards economic development and the impact of trade liberalization on cultural diversity, to finally assert that cultural development cannot follow economic development in the order of priorities because both are intimately linked.