Cultural diversity

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Founding Congress of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD), Seville, Spain

On September 18–19, delegates from 37 national Coalitions for Cultural Diversity gathered in Seville, Spain, for the founding congress of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD).

During the meeting, delegates from all 37 countries voted unanimously to establish the IFCCD and locate its head office in Montreal, Canada, where the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity is also headquartered. In a September 20 press release, Ms. Solange Drouin, cochair of the Canadian Coalition and executive director of Quebec independent music producers’ association ADISQ declared: “The creation of the Federation truly represents an historic moment in the evolution of the Coalition movement. We are particularly pleased that our colleagues from around the world decided that the Federation be headquartered in Canada.”

The press release also notes that delegates attending the Seville Congress agreed that the inaugural meeting of the Federation’s board of directors should be held in Ottawa, Canada, immediately prior to the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which will be held December 10–14, 2007.

“The decision to create the Federation is a reflection of the remarkable growth of our movement over the past eight years,” explained Drouin, who was also elected to the new Federation’s board of directors.

“Even more important, it signals our recognition that the work to maximize the legal and political weight of the UNESCO convention is still ahead of us,” she added. “The Ottawa Intergovernmental Committee meeting will be crucial to ensuring the momentum we have generated is channeled into the implementation phase for bringing this convention to life.”

“Work in support of broader ratification must continue,” the press release goes on. “To achieve its full potential, the UNESCO convention needs to quickly surpass the 100 ratifications threshold, and ultimately reach the level of 150 ratifications that is the benchmark for any major international agreement.”

“The unanimous decision made in June at the inaugural Conference of Parties to the Convention to select Ottawa as the host of the first Intergovernmental Committee meeting in Ottawa was clearly in recognition of the leadership role that Canada has played in championing this convention,” said Jim McKee, executive director of the Canadian Coalition, who was appointed general secretary of the Federation. “Canada is now well positioned to continue in this role and ensure an effective launch of the implementation process.”

“It’s equally fitting that the Federation’s headquarters will be located in Montreal because the Coalition movement was launched here,” added Solange Drouin. “Since it was created, the Canadian Coalition has benefited from strong, sustained support from the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec. Without this support, the emergence of the Coalition movement internationally and its evolution into a formally constituted Federation would quite simply not have been possible.”

Under the terms of the Founding Declaration, the founding members mandated the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity to

  • Protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions around the world by stimulating dialog and an efficient international cooperation in the cultural sectors as well as a better balance in the exchanges of cultural goods and services
  • Support the development and implementation of national, regional, and international cultural policies
  • Support the ratification process in respect of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (hereafter referred to as “the Convention”), which establishes an international legal foundation for the right of states and governments to determine their own cultural policies
  • Call for the active participation of the Federation in the implementation of the Convention, in particular by engaging in the proceedings and work of its implementation mechanisms and by supporting action that strengthens its application at the national, regional, and international levels
  • Reinforce civil society participation at the national, regional, and international level so that it can concretely take part in all the steps of Convention implementation
  • Pressure states and governments to abstain from taking liberalization commitments affecting cultural goods and services in all sectors that may be contemplated in bilateral, regional, or international trade negotiations

You can read the Declaration of the Founding Congress of the IFCCD for yourself on the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity website.

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