On December 10, 2007, the minister of Canadian heritage, status of women and official languages Josée Verner announced that Canada would contribute to the UNESCO International Fund for Cultural Diversity. Minister Verner made the announcement of a $500,000 contribution for 2008/09 at the inaugural session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, held in Ottawa, Canada, from December 10 to 13, 2007.
“The International Fund for Cultural Diversity is essential to the success of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions,” said Minister Verner. “The fund will support cooperation on sustainable development and foster the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector, while addressing the specific needs of developing countries.”
The press release issued on the occasion notes that Canada worked closely with other Member States during the first committee session, particularly to prepare guidelines for the International Fund for Cultural Diversity, which will help bring about the Convention’s objectives. The committee is mandated to promote the Convention and ensure its implementation.
“The Government of Canada is proud to host the first session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions,” said Minister Verner. “The Convention is of vital importance for Canada. It recognizes the specific nature of the cultural activities, goods, and services through which our artists and creators express their ideas, make their voices heard, and celebrate their differences. The convention recognizes the immense value of that contribution.”
Canada was the first country to ratify the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and continues to play a leading role in promoting its ratification by a growing number of countries around the world. The convention entered into force on March 18, 2007, and now has over 75 signatory states on five continents.
The press release concludes by recalling that under the Canada-Québec Agreement Concerning UNESCO, the Government of Québec has full representation within the Canadian delegation during this important international forum.