Cultural diversity

Publications and Studies

"Imminent Reactivation of the International Fund for the Promotion of Culture: Risks of Inconsistency and Antagonism"

The article "Imminent Reactivation of the International Fund for the Promotion of Culture: Risks of Inconsistency and Antagonism" (La relance imminente du Fonds international pour la promotion de la culture : risques d’incohérence et d’antagonisme) appeared in the September 3, 2012 issue of the newsletter Accords bilatéraux et diversité culturelle.

This article essentially says that:

"The UNESCO initiative to reactivate the International Fund for the Promotion of Culture (IFPC) compels us to question the political and institutional implications of this action and the relationship that the FIPC will maintain with the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD). UNESCO established IFPC in 1974 for the primary purpose of implementing cultural development strategies and cross-border cultural cooperation with less-developed countries. It is managed by a 15-member board that is appointed by the director general, and enjoys broad intellectual and operating autonomy within the organization. Since its inception, IFPC has helped promote cultural activities in developing countries and provide funding for artists and creators in those countries. However, it would appear that its operating style tended to rely on a top-down approach and centrally formulated objectives that were at times disconnected from the specific needs of developing countries. After 30 years, IFPC was plagued by structural issues—crises in governance and management, meager financial resources, lack of visibility, —and the impact of its efforts was scattershot and spotty. In 2006, UNESCO therefore decided to suspend its operations.

"Over the course of the past year, however, UNESCO has been looking into reactivating IFPC at the behest of countries like Algeria, Cuba, Venezuela, and Egypt. Although this seems like a major step for the cultural development of less-developed countries, we should consider three issues here. First, IFPC and IFCD seem to operate in the exact same sphere. This would undoubtedly result in operational overlap and the emergence of an ambivalent and fragmented institutional space. The problem concerns the complementary nature of the funds’ purposes, resources and networks. This is crucial, as it is highly likely that issues of competition, inconsistency, and resource dispersion will dominate the discussion. Second, amidst the negative international situation sparked by the enduring public debt and deficit crises, collecting IFPC-earmarked resources is an iffy undertaking that could undercut funding for IFCD. Reactivating IFPC thus runs the risk of creating an antagonistic situation between the two funds as they vie for extremely scarce financial resources. Third, the process of ratifying the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions could be disrupted by IFPC implementation since the latter could involuntarily circumvent the Convention of 2005. For these reasons, IFPC should develop priorities and clear-cut areas of intervention that are distinct from those of IFCD and focus on securing private sector contributions to innovative projects and a greater role for cultural industries in developed countries that are involved in international cultural expansion and cooperation."

To read the article in its entirety, see the website of Centre d'études sur l'intégration et la mondialisation.

The September issue of Accords bilatéraux et diversité culturelle also addresses the following topics of interest:

Intellectual Property Rights

  • European Parliament rejects ACTA
  • Trade agreement between Canada and the European Union: concerns about the revival of ACTA
  • Digital piracy: Private and public initiatives

Cultural Industries

  • European Parliament: Debate over the future of European cultural industries
  • The British film industry—between Hollywood investment and European financing

News

  • European Commission: Culture in Motion conference
  • MEDIA Mundus: Third call for proposals
  • 2012 Prize for Cultural Diversity: Call for nominations

Accords bilatéraux et diversité culturelle is published in French by Centre d'études sur l'intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM) for the International Organization of La Francophonie.

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