Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Port of Spain Statement: Civil society addresses Commonwealth heads of government and evokes the 2005 Convention

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Commonwealth People’s Forum were held in Trinidad and Tobago in late November. Civil society representatives attending the Commonwealth People’s Forum adopted the Port of Spain Statement, which features 134 articles and deals with a number of themes, including “Culture, Creativity, and Innovation.” Some of the articles on “Culture and Development” concern the diversity of cultural expressions. Below is an excerpt from the statement.

We call on Commonwealth Member States to

  • Endorse the Statement presented by the Commonwealth Group on Culture and Development and commit to implementing its recommendations through strengthened partnerships
  • Promote the potential of cultural assets, values, practices, and resources in generating economic and social development, including by commissioning and disseminating research on the economic contribution of culture
  • Strengthen creative and cultural industries, notably film and digital industries, by designing, updating, and implementing cultural policy frameworks to meet national and local needs, while sharing good practice and experience across borders ...
  • Ratify and implement the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, including by integrating culture into sustainable development strategies, making cultural development projects eligible for support from international development agencies and funds, and contributing, on a significant and recurring basis, to the Convention’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity
  • Affirm their resolve to retain the right to apply policies and other measures in support of domestic cultural sectors, as enabled by the 2005 UNESCO Convention
  • Initiate ongoing dialogues with civil society organizations regarding policy actions to strengthen the cultural sector, and ensure that their right to apply cultural policies and other measures is not compromised by liberalization commitments in trade negotiations
  • Strengthen and protect local industries against the dumping of cultural products from other economies, including through legislation for local content quotas, assistance to domestic cultural producers, and strengthened copyright legislation
  • Enable the free movement of creative practitioners, products and ideas, including south-south cooperation, by revisiting visa arrangements

The full Port of Spain Statement and press release are available from the Commonwealth Foundation website.