Representatives from cultural organizations from ten Asia-Pacific states met in Vancouver March 27 to 29 to discuss the repercussions of and opportunities presented by the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The event was hosted by the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity, the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity, and the Commonwealth Foundation.
In a joint declaration adopted at the end of the event, the participants urge all UNESCO member states from the region that have not yet done so to ratify the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions on a priority basis. The participants also ask these states to meaningfully involve and support civil society, including cultural organizations, in the process for implementing the Convention.
“We also call on all Asia-Pacific states to ensure coherence in their actions, and to not only ratify the convention, but to uphold and observe its principles and objectives in other international forums—notably by refraining from liberalization commitments in trade negotiations that would constrain their right to apply cultural policies and other measures in support of their domestic cultural sector,” state the Declaration’s authors.
According to the Commonwealth Foundation website, Canadian Minister of Heritage and Official Languages James Moore called attention to the need for the Convention to be ratified more widely amongst the Commonwealth's 53 member countries and for government and civil society to work together to promote ratification.
The full text of the declaration is available at the Commonwealth Foundation website.