In a press release dated December 18, 2007, UNESCO outlined the main results of the first ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity Cultural Expressions, which wrapped up in Ottawa, Canada, on December 13 “with a call for solidarity in safeguarding a dynamic and pluralistic international cultural sector.”
UNESCO reported that “during the four days of work, the members of the Committee established working methods and rules of procedure and exchanged views on ways to develop international cooperation and reinforce the role of civil society in the implementation of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005).”
According to the release, UNESCO director-general Koïchiro Matsuura, in his speech to the Committee, stressed that “the promotion of cultural diversity has been one of the Organization's major priority objectives since its creation. The 2005 Convention, the latest instrument adopted by UNESCO in the field of culture, completes the standard-setting basis on which our Organization is to achieve this aim.”
“The time for reflection and debate is over, the time has come for action,” declared Françoise Rivière, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Culture. In her view, “the most pressing needs concern operational projects aimed at fostering the emergence of an enabling environment for cultural industries through partnerships that enable an exchange of knowledge and best practices, with respect for the equal dignity of cultures, which is a governing principle of the Convention”. She went on: “We should be aware that the Convention will only be an effective pillar of global governance if international solidarity is asserted powerfully.”
UNESCO noted that the use of resources from the International Fund for Cultural Diversity, consisting mainly of voluntary contributions made by the Convention's Parties but also calling on other partners and the private sector, was another item on the agenda. To this effect, the release cited Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women, and Official Languages, who declared as follow “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.” In addition, the minister announced that Canada plans to contribute $500,000 to the Fund for 2008-2009. Lastly, the UNESCO release notes that Christine Saint-Pierre, Minister of Culture, Communications and Status of Women for Québec, pledged $100,000 to the Fund on behalf of her government.
Visit the UNESCO website for more information on the decisions made at the Ottawa meeting. You will also find the work and information documents that were prepared for the meeting