Vol. 4, no 34, Monday, October 4, 2004
The mobilization continues around the preliminary draft convention on cultural diversity
IN THIS ISSUE :
M. Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, ministre français de la Culture et de la Communication, le 27 septembre 2004 - 2004/09/27
Kicking off the 3rd edition of “Foreign Culture Week” with his Brazilian counterpart Gilberto Gil and Robert Desbiens of Canada, Chair of Forum des instituts culturels étrangers à Paris, Mr. de Vabres said he was prepared to “support foreign cultures in France and defend cultural diversity in the international arena.” Evoking the chosen theme, “Stranger in the City,” he stated that “faced with a communitarist temptation to withdraw into individual identities, we must reaffirm the rich contribution of the different components of our society [...] France views tolerance and the recognition of cultural diversity as basic values.” The minister noted that Foreign Culture Week “quite symbolically follows the week in which government experts met within UNESCO to discuss the preliminary draft convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions». Mr. de Vabres also paid homage to Canada, recalling the initiating role played by the Canadian Cultural Center in Paris: “It’s no coincidence that Canada is always by our side to discuss the diversity of cultures […] This initiative illustrates yet again the importance this great country places on the values and principles of intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity. Canada is an example of tolerance and openness to others. In this country where over 200 ethnic groups live respectfully together and are mindful of each other’s identity, cultural diversity really means something.” Mr. Robert Desbiens enthusiastically acknowledged France’s recognition and the presence of Gilberto Gil, “a symbol of resistance to the ‘one culture fits all’ mindset.” Forum des instituts culturels étrangers à Paris (FICEP), which Mr. Desbiens also chairs, includes 35 foreign cultural centers representing over 50 cultural identities. FICEP has published a manifesto in support of a “ multilateral zone for culture marked by neither market forces nor politics .”
Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie (AIF), septembre 2004
In the September 20, 2004 issue of our Cultural Diversity Newsletter, we reported on recent studies made available to states and governments to guide them in developing a universal regulatory framework on cultural diversity and prepare them for negotiations on the draft convention on cultural diversity. In this regard, we refer to analyses and comments by Ms Hélène Ruiz-Fabri and Mr. Ivan Bernier on the preliminary draft C onvention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions, respectively: " Analyse et commentaire critique de l’avant-projet de convention sur la protection de la diversité des contenus culturels et des expressions artistiques dans la version soumise pour commentaires et observations aux gouvernements des États membres de l’UNESCO " , et " Analyse et commentaire de l’avant-projet de convention sur la protection de la diversité des contenus culturels et des expressions artistiques " . Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie (AIF) recently posted an overview of these texts on its website. This document, it states, does not reflect proposed edits by the two experts. You can view the texts on the AIF website.
IRIS Plus , The European Audiovisual Observatory, Strasbourg, September 2004 - 2004/09
In this issue of IRIS Plus by the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) dedicated to The Protection of Cinematographic Heritage in Europe, Ms Sabina Gorini of the Institute for Information Law (IViR) of the University of Amsterdam tells us that Cinematographic films are not purely for entertainment. They are also a valuable record of our times and, above all, an important part of our culture. But does this mean they are systematically preserved in collections like other documentary material and cultural assets? And does it mean members of the public have access to them like to books in a public library or to works of art in a museum? Not all films are necessarily preserved in collectins, nor is their collection necessarily automatic. Property rights and the public interest associated with ensuring films are preserved and readily accessible are aspects that have to be reconciled with each other, either by law or by agreement between the parties involved. This edition looks at how different countries deal with this problem and what initiatives have been taken in this area at European level. In this regard, it informs us about the different deposit systems that have been developed, about film preservation methods, and about the accessibility of deposited works. In conclusion, Ms Gorini maintains that «However, because the majority of production companies in Europe are not in a position to ensure the conservation of their productions (both in terms of logistics and costs), an increased co-operation on their part in the context of publicly organised systems of deposit (by which preservation is financed by the State) seems to be a realistic hope». She also states that «It is conceivable that the cultural aims of the State in preserving the heritage can be made to converge with the economic objectives of the cinema industry». ( Available in French and English )
IRIS Plus :
European Audiovisual Observatory:
The UNESCO Executive Board is meeting September 28 to October 14, 2004, at UN headquarters in Paris. On the agenda is “promoting cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue in the context of globalization.” In this regard, Executive Board chairman Hans-Heinrich, German Ambassador to UNESCO, stated that “globalization has benefits but also presents a major challenge—that of protecting the wealth of cultural and intellectual diversity amassed by civilizations.” This meeting follows the first meeting of intergovernmental experts held in Paris from the 20 to last 24 September to examine the Preliminary draft of a convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions . Made up of 58 of UNESCO’s 190 member states, the Executive Board is elected by the General Conference and is one of UNESCO’s three constitutional bodies. In his introduction to the Executive Board’s general debate, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura reviewed the first meeting of government experts that brought together 600 participants representing 132 member states, 9 international organizations, and 20 nongovernmental organizations. He also pointed out that a 24 member editorial team formed following the meeting will convene in December to review comments by member states presented no later than November 15 and propose a new preliminary draft text for submission at the next session of the intergovernmental meeting to be held January 31 to February 12, 2005.
Communication de M. Matsuura :
Ministers of culture belonging to the International Network on Cultural Policy (INCP) as well as delegates will meet October 14 to 17 in Shanghai, China, for the 7th Annual INCP Ministerial Meeting. This meeting is further to the preparatory meeting of the INCP Working Group on Cultural Diversity and Globalization (WGCD&G) held September 16 and 17, 2004, in Paris prior to the first meeting of intergovernmental experts on the preliminary draft convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions. The upcoming meeting will allow INCP ministers of culture to take stock of the first meeting of intergovernmental experts and particularly the preliminary draft convention, as well as explore and discuss ideas regarding new cultural policy issues. ( French, English, Spanish )
A round table on cultural diversity will be featured at the opening conference of the 17th Centre Jacques Cartier Talks hosted by Université de Montréal and Centre Jacques Cartier in cooperation with Université du Québec à Montréal and McGill University. At these talks to be held on Wednesday, October 6, 2004, at Université de Montréal, Québec minister of culture and communications Line Beauchamp will review discussions on the preliminary draft UNESCO convention to protect the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions and remove cultural goods and services from WTO negotiations on international trade rules. Canadian and European panelists will also share their vision for protecting cultural productions in the context of globalization. For the full program, visit the Centre Jacques Cartier website at http://www.ejc.umontreal.ca.
On October 8 and 9 in Hanoi, Vietnam will host the 5th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM-5) on the theme of “Revitalizing and Substantiating the Asia-Europe Partnership.” Created in March 1996, ASEM brings together Asian and European countries to discuss political, economic, social, cultural, and education issues. The ASEM process is based on three main pillars: political dialogue, economic cooperation, and cooperation in other areas. The meeting will focus on protecting the diversity of national cultures in the context of information technologies and globalization. Key issues will include cooperating to protect each culture, ensuring the role of education in culture, and promoting dialogue between different cultures and civilizations. Two important documents will be published following ASEM-5: “The Hanoi Declaration on a Closer Asia-Europe Economic Partnership” and “The ASEM Declaration on Dialogue Among Cultures and Civilizations.” These texts will be the first major commitments toward strengthening economic and cultural cooperation between the two continents. ASEM-5 will also be the first meeting expanded to 39 members with 13 new members, including three Asian countries and the ten new European Union member countries.
On September 23, 24, and 25 in Nouakchott, Mauritania, delegations from Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Yemen, Sudan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Burkina Faso participated in the International Symposium on Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue. Over three days, Islamic states discussed cultural diversity and arrived at a joint vision reflecting their keen interest in the matter. Outside the symposium, Mr. Mohamed Ould Khattar of the UNESCO Regional Office in Rabat stated that this meeting was aimed at reviewing the impact of cultural diversity on trade and agreements between peoples and civilizations. Guinean journalist Mohamed Salifou Keita, who stated that the meeting drew its importance from the current intermingling of cultures in the world, asserted that “cultural diversity is a basis for understanding and agreement between peoples.” Another participant, Mr. Joseph Joel Lobbé, noted that cultural diversity was also a source of richness and strength, and defended the importance of the symposium, which he viewed as an “engine for understanding, agreement, solidarity, unity, and consequently cooperation, peace, and harmony in the world.” He stated, “the more numerous and united we are, the less fragile. That’s why we’re here with our brothers from Africa, Europe, and Asia to try to fine-tune our positions and strategies, and resist the tidal wave of globalization.” Following the symposium, participants released a document on the draft Nouakchott Declaration on Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue.
M. Guy Alain Gauze, Ambassadeur, ex-porte parole des pays ACP pour les négociations commerciales ACP/UE, le 28 septembre 2004 – 2004/09/28
Invited by the African Development Bank (ADB) and economic weekly Réalités to the Tunis symposium on “Africa and Globalization,” ambassador Guy Alain Gauze, former spokesperson of the 78 ACP (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) countries for ACP/EU trade negotiations, asserted that “the Europe-Africa partnership is both an ambitious and realistic initiative.” According to him, Africa “ has much to gain ” from new trade arrangements with the European Union under WTO rules. He also believes the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) “seem workable .” It is important, Mr. Gauze adds, that the main beneficiaries of this cooperation (African countries) realize that “by applying good economic policies in an environment of political stability, respect for democratic principles, the rule of law, and good governance, the grand design of European/African cooperation will take shape to help reduce and even eradicate poverty.” However, he also pointed out contradictions in the dynamics of negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and regional ACP subgroups. Without actually denying the potential benefits of EPAs as demonstrated by theoretical analyses on free trade and the new development orthodoxy, he noted that EPAs will undoubtedly lead to a structural change in ACP country production facilities that should allow them to produce manufactured goods locally and efficiently for export to Europe. However, he wondered whether ACP states and businesses would have the ability and means to implement this structural change that requires investment in key areas, but which cannot be provided by the private sector, although the latter must be closely involved. In any case, states Mr. Gauze, by choosing to negotiate with the EU, African countries have entered the irreversible process of globalization and all it entails.( Available in French)