Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 3, no 24, Monday, September 8, 2003

Globalization with a human face – benefiting all

The UNESCO General Conference will be meeting in Paris from September 29 to October 17 for its 32nd session. Among the items on the agenda, the Conference will debate the desirability of developing an international standard-setting instrument on cultural diversity.

With the support of a group of former European ministers, Brazil’s culture minister, singer/songwriter Gilberto Gil, launched a worldwide cultural “resistance” movement in Rome on July 21, 2003. His call to artists and intellectuals worldwide to suggest ways to defend culture will lead to a “world culture manifesto” that its promoters hope to approve in June or July 2004 in Sao Paolo in Brazil. (Available in French only)
PlanetAgora - Agence France-Presse (AFP)

IN THIS ISSUE :

Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Publications and Studies

Other News of Interest



Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Québec minister of culture and communications line beauchamp to lead mission to france from sept 8 to 11

August 28, 2003

Ms Beauchamp will meet with various political leaders and representatives of civil society in preparation for the upcoming UNESCO General Conference. She will discuss the development of a new international standard-setting instrument on cultural diversity with the UNESCO Director General, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO ambassadors, and Mr. Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Ms Beauchamp will also meet with the French Minister of Culture and Communication, Mr. Jean-Jacques Aillagon, with whom she also plans to raise the issue of cultural diversity. (Available in French only) Québec Delegation General in Paris

Top of page

Publications and Studies

Draft treaty establishing a constitution for europe adopted by consensus by the european convention on june 13 and july 10, 2003 – conv 850/03

Secretariat of the European Convention, Brussels, July 18, 2003 – 2003/07/18

The European Convention concluded proceedings on July 10 by adopting by consensus the Draft Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe. The full draft text (http://register.consilium.eu.int/pdf/fr/03/cv00/cv00850fr03.pdf ) as submitted to the Italian chairmanship includes the amendment on the Common Trade Policy introduced in Part III (Article III-217, Paragraph 4), which stipulates that “The Council shall also act unanimously for the negotiation and conclusion of agreements in the field of trade in cultural and audiovisual services, where these risk prejudicing the Union's cultural and linguistic diversity.” This document is currently being translated into the languages of all the other countries that took part in the Convention. These other versions will be published on the European Convention Website (http://european-convention.eu.int/bienvenue.asp?lang=FR) as soon as they become available.

Top of page

Vers un instrument international sur la diversité culturelle - communication de la commission au conseil et au parlement europeen - com(2003) 520 final - commission des communautés européenne

Bruxelles, le 27 août 2003 – 2003/08/27

In light of the upcoming UNESCO General Conference, which will make a decision regarding the desirability of a standard-setting instrument on cultural diversity and the nature of such an instrument, the Commission of the European Communities affirms in this paper that the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity are among the founding principles of the European model. The Commission declares “that a legally binding instrument to preserve and promote cultural diversity would be necessary, in order to consolidate certain cultural rights, commit Parties to international co-operation, create a forum for debate on cultural policies and establish a global monitoring on the state of cultural diversity world-wide. Such an approach should recognise the need for a balanced understanding of both the opportunities offered and threats posed by globalisation and the development of ICTs.” Consequently, the Commission specifically invites the Community and its Member States to reaffirm their commitment to cultural diversity on the international stage. Should the UNESCO General Conference decide to proceed with negotiations on an international instrument on cultural diversity, the Commission will recommend that the Council be authorized to negotiate with UNESCO on the issue on behalf of the Community and its Member States. (Available in English and French only)

Top of page

Other News of Interest

GATS and Sustainable Development

On September 12 in Mexico City, the Heinrich Boell Foundation, in conjunction with the German Association of Public Broadcasting Organizations (ARD) and the International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD), will hold a conference on the theme "GATS and Sustainable Development—How Does Liberalization of Trade in Audiovisual and Cultural Services Challenge Cultural Diversity?" and present the Cancun Declaration on Cultural Diversity. For information and registration go to

Top of page

The French Theater Festival “Les Francophonies en Limousin”

The French Theater Festival “Les Francophonies en Limousin,” is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. This year’s edition, which runs from September 23 to October 5, will feature numerous special events, including a two-part debate on cultural diversity under the theme "Through other eyes: universality and cultural diversity." Participants will discuss two topics, "Giving life to cultural diversity" and "Reconciling universality and diversity in the living arts." Debate participants will include Mr. Jean-Jacques Aillagon, French Minister of Culture and Communication; Sheik Oumar Sissoko, Malian Minister of Culture, and Mr. Roger Dehaybe, Principal Officer of Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie. Québec’s Delegation General in Paris is a partner of the festival : www.mri.gouv.qc.ca/paris/index.asp

Top of page

Globalization with a human face – benefiting all

The unesco/unu international conference - tokyo, japan, 30 and 31 july 2003 - 2003/07/30-31

UNESCO and United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo, Japan, held an international conference on July 30 and 31 on the theme “Globalization With a Human face—Benefiting All.” The event was attended by former ministers and heads of state as well as academics from around the world. Several public debates were held as part of the conference, including on the theme “Cultural Diversity, Dialogue, and Ethics.” The conference theme, which reflects UNESCO’s conviction that globalization should be used to improve the welfare of the world’s population, derived from two observations: left unchecked, globalization accentuates rather than reduces divisions and inequality and does not benefit humanity as a whole; it also sparks fears that the increasing commodification of education, culture, and information interfere with the ability of certain countries and communities to sustain and improve their ways of life. (Available in English and French only)

Top of page

Media briefing on the third round of free trade agreement negotiations between australia and the united states, 21-25 july in hawaii

Austrade, 25 july 2003 – 2003/07/25

At a press conference marking the end of the third round of negotiations on the Australia–U.S. Free Trade Agreement, chief Australian negotiator Mr. Stephen Deady told journalists that Australia had made an offer on services and investment covering the audiovisual sector. He added that the offer was entirely in keeping with assurances to the sector that the government would be able to continue meeting its goals in this area. (Available in English only)
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Top of page

Federal trade minister mark vaile: cultural questions on notice

AFC Trade Bulletin, 28 August 2003 – 2003/08/28

Questioned on government prospects for ensuring diversity in Australian media content under the terms of the free trade agreement in negotiation with the United States, Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile reaffirmed that the government would not compromise fundamental objectives in areas such as health, education, and culture. He declared that the negotiations had in no way undermined the government’s ability to support Australian culture and national identity. (Available in English only)

Top of page

Public consultations on the wto doha round of trade negotiations - submission to the department of foreign affairs and trade by film finance corporation australia, film australia limited, and ausfilm

August 2003,

In this submission, the Australian Film Commission (AFC) declares that Australia should support UNESCO in the event that the upcoming General Conference makes a favorable recommendation regarding the development of an international standard-setting instrument on cultural diversity, notably by assisting UNESCO and INCP (International Network on Cultural policy) in instrument development work. AFC is also actively seeking recognition of the special status of culture in the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The Commission affirms that this goal can be achieved without compromising Australian national interests in other commercial sectors. AFC notably supports the Australian government’s refusal to make any offers regarding the audiovisual and cultural sectors, asserting that this position allows Australia to conserve its right to maintain, adapt, and introduce new measures to support domestic cultural policy under GATS. (Available in English only)

Top of page

L’Université d’été de la Communication a inauguré, le 25 août dernier, à Hourtin en France

On August 25, Université d’été de la Communication launched its 24th session in Hourtin, France, under the theme "Reflecting on Identities." Inspired by their diverse cultural, political, social, and professional identities, participants debated various issues raised by the theme: "Is it possible to develop and promote cultural identities in the information society?"; "Does technological innovation foster diversity in cultural products?”; “Does the multiplication of platforms encourage the multiplication of content?” The session opening continued with a conference on cultural diversity entitled “Cultural Diversity: Can it coexist with globalization?”

Top of page