“Over the last few years, a great deal of work and a great many resources have gone into developing the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. However, the full scope of the Convention will be realized only when it has been implemented. To that end, Canada will continue to promote the ratification of the Convention by the greatest number of countries so that it may advance the diversity of cultural expressions in every part of the world,” stated Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, Ms. Josée Verner on the occasion of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21.
Later in her declaration, Verner added that “ Canada has always played a leading role in matters of cultural diversity.” After the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was adopted by the 33rd UNESCO General Conference, we became the first country in the world to officially accept it. The Convention entered into force on March 18, 2007. By 2008, 80 countries had joined Canada in officially ratifying the Convention.
“The Convention recognizes both the social and the economic nature of cultural goods and services such as books, films, and television programs,” stated Verner, adding that “Moreover, it reaffirms the right of States to take steps to support the diversity of their cultural expressions.”
As a member of the Intergovernmental Committee tasked with governing the Convention and promoting its objectives, “ Canada will maintain its leadership by continuing to play an active role in the Convention’s implementation and to ensure that concrete results are achieved”. In that regard, the minister indicated that in 2007, Canada had announced a contribution of $500,000 to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity “to support cooperation on sustainable development and foster the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector, especially in developing countries.”
“The Government of Canada welcomes diverse cultural expressions and recognizes how important it is for citizens to have access to their own culture.” According to Verner, “a concrete example of Canada’s commitment to cultural diversity is the agreement in principle reached by all partner governments to ensure the future of TV5MONDE […] in preserving this international tool for the promotion of the French language and the values of the Francophonie, all partners have taken a step forward in the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions.”