Cultural diversity

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Interview on the diversity of cultural expressions with Canada’s former ambassador to UNESCO, Mr. Gilbert Laurin

An interview with Mr. Gilbert Laurin, the outgoing chairperson of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and former Canadian ambassador to UNESCO has been published on the UNESCO website. Mr. Laurin states that the Parties to the Convention have a great deal of confidence in the committee’s work. According to Mr. Laurin, the two most important points of the second session held in Paris from December 8 to 12, 2008 concerned the operational guidelines for the International Fund for Cultural Diversity and the question of preferential treatment. “We began to talk about the Fund in December 2007, and at that time there were widely divergent views on beneficiaries and the way in which it would be used. We have now reached an agreement: it will be used for the promotion and protection of cultural expressions, as indeed the Convention calls for. In that sense, many expect that it will be used to help developing countries. Secondly, we also started discussing preferential treatment for developing countries, which is in my view one of this Convention’s fundamental elements.”

Regarding the main challenge facing the Convention in the future, the former Canadian ambassador to UNESCO points unequivocally to funding. “There are enormous expectations about what the Fund could do if it had sufficient resources. The Parties, UNESCO’s Member States, have to be told to be generous, of course, but it is also necessary to seek funds elsewhere, and to convince the private sector it is to their advantage to invest in the Fund.”

The full text of the interview is available at the UNESCO website.

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