Vol. 4, no 26, Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Towards a Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions
IN THIS ISSUE :
At an information meeting (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001353/135322f.pdf) with the permanent UNESCO delegations on the preliminary draft convention on the diversity of cultural expression (see our July 5, 2004 newsletter), UNESCO director general Koïchiro Matsuura kicked off the second phase of the draft preparation process by government experts. Mr. Matsuura also indicated that he had met with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and sincerely hoped that “interministerial consultations would begin without delay, so that the national delegations at UNESCO and WTO are able to defend common positions.” This second phase has just begun, in accordance with statutory time limits.
Mr. Matsuura has just distributed a preliminary report and draft version of the Convention to permanent UNESCO delegations and asked them to present their comments and observations on both by mid-November 2004. These documents will serve as a basis for discussions and negotiations at an initial intergovernmental meeting. The delegations have already been invited to the first meeting of intergovernmental experts, to be held in Paris from September 20 to 25, 2004. Representatives of a number of international organizations will also be invited as observers, including WTO, WIPO, and UNCTAD, as well as many NGOs, as decided by the Executive Board.
This special edition of our Cultural Diversity Newsletter provides an overview of cultural diversity initiatives as well as links to all documents related to the drafting of the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expression.
In accordance with current UNESCO procedures, the director general formed a multidisciplinary international group of fifteen independent experts to provide suggestions and opinions on preparation of the preliminary draft Convention. Following three Category VI meetings held between December 2003 and May 2004, this group developed a draft text that it submitted to the director general. Reports from these meetings as well as the director general’s related speeches are available on the following Websites:
The first meeting of experts on the preliminary draft International Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions took place from 17 to 20 December 2003 at UNESCO Headquarters (Paris). The objective of the meeting was to launch preliminary deliberations and to find a common ground to initiate discussions
The second meeting of experts on the preliminary draft International Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressionstook place from 30 March to 3 April 2004 at UNESCO Headquarters, further to the first meeting of experts, the second meeting. The meeting invited the experts to propose formulations of articles and to draft the outline of a first preliminary draft convention
The Third meeting of experts on the preliminary draft International Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressionstook place from 28 to 31 May 2004 at UNESCO Headquarters (Paris). During the meeting, the experts examined the first preliminary draft convention with a view to finalizing it.
It would be convenient to refer to the document which was used for the decision with the 32e general Conférence heading : Preliminary study on the technical and legal aspects relating to the desirability of a standard-setting instrument on cultural diversity (166 EX/28, Paris, 12 March 2003)
The first meeting of intergovernmental experts on the preliminary draft international Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Content and Artistic Expression will be held September 20 to 25, 2004, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Following work of the independent experts, the director general proposed a first preliminary draft of convention (the preliminary draft deposited by Mr. Matsuura and that resulting from work of the independent experts comprise notable differences, inter alia on the mechanism of settlement of the disputes). The meetings of independent expert having led to the first preliminary draft Convention, the director general can now convene Category II intergovernmental meetings as authorized by the Executive Board (169EX/40),. During these meetings, experts from all UN member states are invited to present their points of view and take part in developing the final preliminary draft Convention and accompanying report.
UNESCO has taken numerous initiatives to spur reflection and thoroughly explore the issue of cultural diversity by organizing multiple symposiums, meetings, research projects, and publications available online at
UNESCO has also published a study on the changing concept of cultural diversity within the organization entitled UNESCO and the issue of Cultural Diversity: Review and Strategy, 1946-2003 (Revised version)
Several intergovernmental and non-governmental institutions have discussed the advisability of a new legal instrument on cultural diversity. The extremely diverse work of these institutions enriched deliberation undertaken at UNESCO on the elaboration of a convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions. Some of these major institutions are listed below in alphabetical order:
You can consult the proceedings and publications of these institutions and organizations at