On April 28, 2007, Françoise Rivière, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, gave a speech at the Essen, Germany, conference entitled Cultural Diversity—Europe's Wealth. Bringing the UNESCO Convention to Life regarding the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
In her speech, Ms. Rivière emphasized the unprecedented speed of the Convention’s entry into force. In her view, two principal factors account for this success: “The first factor certainly relates to the topicality of the ideas. Member States wished, with this Convention, to recognize creative diversity as an essential aspect of development. Thus, the convention is the first normative instrument that so clearly ties culture to development—development here being understood in its broadest symbolic and economic sense.” The other factor, continued Ms. Rivière, “is undoubtedly that this Convention is one of the first and only international instruments that takes globalization into account and attempts to direct it, to control the process in order to ensure not only the protection but also the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions.”
Concerning the first Conference of Parties, to take place at UNESCO headquarters from June 18 to 20, Ms. Rivière declared that “nonetheless, the geographical distribution of Parties remains unbalanced and few Asia-Pacific or Arab states have so far joined the Convention. It is true that many states have undertaken the internal ratification process, but the process can be long and complex. We are confident that the coming months will see the list of Parties grow longer. The international solidarity that underlies this text cannot fully express itself unless the partners are many and varied, a true reflection of the world itself.”
To read Ms. Rivière’s speech in its entirety and explore all her reflections as presented to the Essen Conference participants, please click here.