Cultural diversity

Publications and Studies

Pour une convention internationale sur la diversité culturelle: comment lui donner les meilleures chances de succès ?

Jean musitelli  - Février 2003

In this study, Mr. Musitelli sets out a few useful lessons on how to conduct the negotiations on UNESCO’s international convention on cultural diversity and the pitfalls to avoid. In the wake of the debates at UNESCO, OIF, INCP, and other organizations, he asserts that “we possess a corpus of principles that constitute a foundation for a conceptual and operational definition of cultural diversity  on which we can build as we work to develop a binding legal instrument.” According to Mr. Musitelli, the objective today is clear: “It is a matter of endowing the principles already defined with international legal force.” He also notes that the work already done by experts has confirmed the feasibility of such an objective. Now that the challenge has clearly shifted to the political arena, Mr. Musitelli cautions cultural diversity promoters against the foreseeable obstacles they will face. In his opinion, these obstacles derive from the subject of negotiations, the position of member states, and the attitude of the UNESCO hierarchy. To this effect, he suggests that the “dynamics of negotiation should be allowed to take shape” because “the ultimate effectiveness of the convention is worth the price.” Mr. Musitelli also acknowledges that “the next round will be tough, but it is winnable if the alliance for cultural diversity has the political will, a consistent approach, and clear objectives. It is winnable especially if we can share the spirit that moves us. This is no rearguardaction to artificially protect threatened national or category-specific interests. It is the creation of a new legal regime that frees culture and cultural exchanges from their provisional and humiliating status as exceptions from the rules of trade and the reign of products and merchandise by recognizing the full legitimacy and sovereignty of culture and cultural exchange.” (Available in French only)