Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 4, no 23, Monday, July 5, 2004

L'Europe de la Culture : Quelle place et quel financement de la Culture en Europe à l'heure de l'élargissement?

IN THIS ISSUE :

Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Publications and Studies

Other News of Interest



Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Lettre de São Paulo - PremièreRencontre des Ministres de la Culture du Forum Culturel Mondial

First World Cultural Forum - 26 juin - 4 juillet 2004, São Paulo, Brésil - le 1er juillet de 2004 – 2004/07/01

Representatives of governments, the economy, and non-governmental organizations the world over met from June 26 to July 4, 2004, in São Paulo, Brazil, for the first World Cultural Forum to discuss cultural politics and how to find a balance between globalization and cultural diversity, and to promote heightened support of art and culture as catalysts to a more just and peaceful world. The main goals of the Forum were the following: to create a platform for group initiatives that promote culture and economic and social development; to create an efficient network of information on topics related to cultural and economic development; to create a forum for sharing information and experience; to research, monitor, and identify the current state of the arts and culture both regionally and globally; to generate new support mechanisms for cultural initiatives; to develop and promote access to cultural markets; to sustain regional and international cultural initiatives by promoting intercultural understanding, peace, and development; and to serve as a global amphitheater for cultural activities and debates. The World Cultural Forum of São Paolo is not only an event but also a process open to new initiatives, their development, and other partnerings in Brazil, Latin America and the entire world. Participation in this process was structured in various ways: a global convention in the form of a five-day symposium on the most important topics, and on questions, themes, priorities, and goals of today’s culture and arts; a festival with international artistic programming; and a cultural marketplace of ideas and projects.

The World Cultural Forum of São Paulo paid particular geopolitical and cultural attention to countries, regions, and situations and organized an International Conference of Ministers of Culture around the world. As a result of this first meeting of ministers of culture of the World Cultural Forum, the ministers of culture (or their representatives) of Algeria, Austria, Spain, Mali, and Mexico have decided to share with other participants at the event and to submit to multilateral authorities and to the ministers of culture of all countries the “Lettre de São Paulo” in which they declare «that culture is one of the dimensions of human development, and that economic growth, international exchanges of economic and cultural goods, services, and contents must be culturally sustainable; that culture and creative industries play an important role in income and employment generation, and in the qualification of relations amongst individuals, and in the peace-building process among countries; that globalization, world trade, and markets must respect the cultural rights of societies, social groups, and individuals, contributing to diversity and not hegemony; and that new communication technologies facilitate dialog between civilizations and cultures and broaden the possibility of circulating cultural products, services, and contents and, therefore, to guarantee cultural diversity and free access to all economic benefits generated, with no monopolies or imbalances, these flows being regulated by legitimate international entities to be created for this purpose within the United Nations.”
Moreover, the ministers of culture commit themselves publicly to “promoting diverse cultural spaces of cultural and social inclusion in which innovative ideas circulate and artistic and intellectual unrest is shared, thus contributing to the regulation, structuring, and momentum of creative industries in our countries; prioritizing the development of bilateral and multilateral agreements, policies, and funds that foster production and cultural exchange in a balanced way amongst our countries and the other countries of the planet, aiming at a healthy interchange of cultural goods and services, both between North and South as well as South-South; advocating a specific and differentiated treatment of cultural goods and services in the agreements of trade liberalization under way in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and, on the basis of the conceptual context proposed by UNESCO, fighting for the creation of institutional spaces that may assure that cultural exchanges occur within regulatory frameworks appropriate to the material or immaterial nature of the cultural goods and services, according to the principle of identity protection, cultural diversity, and the traditional knowledge of countries; supporting UNESCO in its fundamental initiative of establishing, in agreement among the UN member countries, an International Convention for the Protection of Cultural Diversity, scheduled for the 2005 General Conference, and to promote the adherence of member countries to the Immaterial Heritage Convention; and contributing to the creation of an international economic and cultural exchange system based on democracy, equal opportunity, the correcting of imbalances, a respect for differences and for human rights, and full dialog between cultures, aiming at the consolidation and promotion of a culture of peace.” [63] (Available in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese)

Lettre de São Paulo :

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Troisièmes Rencontres internationales des organisations professionnelles de la culture - Déclaration de Séoul

Korean Coalition for Cultural Diversity – 3 juin 2004 – 2004/06/03 

From June 1 to 4, 2004, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, the Third International Meeting of Cultural Professional Organizations brought together 400 delegates from 57 countries, from organizations representing authors, performers, composers, producers, technicians, musicians, writers, and fine arts and graphic artists, as well as independent film producers, publishers, radio and TV companies, and distributors.
The delegates adopted a final declaration agreeing on a number of principles, including “that cultural contents and artistic expressions are essential vehicles of a people’s identities, experiences, and values, and as such are innately different from other goods and services; that a balanced exchange of cultural contents and artistic expressions among all countries fundamentally contributes to a better understanding among peoples and in the process can contribute to a more cooperative and peaceful world, realizing the promise of a globalization that truly reflects the needs of humanity; that meaningful levels of domestic cultural production in all countries are an essential precondition for a balanced exchange of cultural goods and services among countries at the international level; that market forces alone will not ensure meaningful levels of cultural creation and production in each country, and for this reason states must be able to continue to pursue unencumbered cultural policies, including public service institutions, that ensure culture is created and extensively circulated within their own country and around the world; that for all these reasons, cultural goods must not be subordinated to the rules of international trade agreements—whether by the World Trade Organization (WTO) or at the regional or bilateral level—and the sovereign rights of states to have cultural policies must be unequivocally affirmed in international law through a convention on diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions, now being developed at UNESCO, that would reaffirm the sovereign right of states to have cultural policies, while fully respecting human rights, freedom of expression, and artistic creation.”
Accordingly, the delegates exhorted government leaders to “resist the pressure from international trade negotiations—whether at WTO or at the regional or bilateral levels—by abstaining from liberalization commitments affecting culture that would jeopardize their country’s ability to enact cultural policies; and to build support for the process now under way at UNESCO to ensure that the convention on cultural diversity contents and artistic expressions is a strong convention—a legally binding instrument—and is adopted at the UNESCO 33rd General Conference in 2005.” [63] (Available in French)

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Publications and Studies

Avant-projet de Convention sur la diversité des expressions culturelles - Réunion d’information avec les délégations permanentes auprès de l’UNESCO

M. Koïchiro Matsuura, Directeur général de l’UNESCO, le 21 juin 2004 – 2004/06/21

At the third meeting of the expert group at UNESCO headquarters in Paris from May 28 to 31, 2004, the experts wrapped up the first phase of preparation of a preliminary draft of the Convention on the Protection of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions. UNESCO director-general Koïchiro Matsuura took the opportunity to brief permanent delegates to UNESCO in kickoff to the second phase of the draft preparation process, which will be in the hands of government experts. Mr. Matsuura reported that “the expert group has been even more successful than we expected, and the result of this first phase of deliberation is a draft text that reflects a broad consensus. I again express my gratitude to the experts, who embraced the challenge enthusiastically, earnestly, and skillfully, and responded with an intelligent, fitting solution.”
Mr. Matsuura considers the report on the third meeting of experts an excellent basis for further work. It describes in detail the process that led to the final text and thoroughly and clearly sets out the objectives of the Convention and mechanisms to implement and enforce it. The document is divided into seven chapters: a preamble, objectives and guiding principles, areas of application and definitions, the rights and obligations of signatory states, the relationship to other instruments, enforcement bodies and mechanisms, and final provisions.
The preamble addresses a number of important concepts, such as recognition of the dual cultural and economic nature of cultural goods and services, the need to respect artists’ rights, the relationship between cultural diversity and development, and the interaction between cultures and cultural pluralism. The convention’s areas of application have remained unchanged: the convention applies to cultural policies and measures that the signatory states adopt to promote and protect the diversity of cultural expressions. But, as Mr. Matsuura notes, “it will, of course, be important to establish the relationship between the Convention’s areas of application and those of other instruments to avoid any duplication, although the Convention enforcement bodies will formulate the exact criteria.” While the objectives were left untouched, the definitions were adjusted, notably the term “cultural expressions,” which the experts find better encompasses the two notions of “cultural contents” and “artistic expressions.” The Convention’s guiding principles were also clarified and their binding nature stressed. They are now divided into fundamental principles and operational principles. The rights and obligations of signatory states in the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions at the national and international levels were developed and clarified. The experts entered into the meetings with different approaches, but came to a common position by the end: “to ensure the necessary balance between the state’s sovereign right to adopt measures to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions within its own borders and its obligation to protect and promote the same diversity at both the national and international levels.” The document also sets out a new provision requiring member states to take action to promote cultural expressions considered vulnerable or at risk of either extinction or serious decline. This concept of vulnerability is a cornerstone of the Convention. As its main international contributions, the draft proposes innovative mechanisms of cooperation, as well as a number of “tools” for implementation that go beyond a mere support role, such as a Cultural Diversity Observatory and facilities to develop dynamic partnerships. Convention enforcement mechanisms were previously a source of disagreement between the experts, but were considerably fine-tuned. The purpose of these mechanisms is to ensure the Convention is implemented coherently and effectively. The experts recommended three complementary enforcement bodies: a General Assembly of Member States, an Intergovernmental Committee, and an Expert Advisory Group. Dispute settlement mechanisms were also further developed. A process will be put in place through which parties will be encouraged to work in good faith toward agreement. Negotiation, good offices, or mediation would be the first steps, followed by arbitration or recourse to the International Court of Justice if first attempts prove unsuccessful and if so requested by both parties. Any arbitration decision would be binding, but would not in any circumstances involve sanctions. On one issue alone, the relationship between the Convention and other legal international instruments, the experts preferred to stick with two alternatives—option A and option B.
Mr. Matsuura notably called for consultations with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and “sincerely hope(s) that interministerial consultations will begin without delay, so that the national delegations at UNESCO and WTO are able to defend common positions.” He expects this second phase to begin on schedule in mid-July, when he will distribute a preliminary report and draft of the convention to permanent delegations and ask them to send their comments and observations by November 2004. In this regard, the parties will soon receive invitations to the first meeting of intergovernmental experts, to be held from September 20 to 25, 2004. Representatives of a number of international organizations will also be invited as observers, including WTO, WIPO, and UNCTAD, and many NGOs, as decided by the Executive Board. [63] (Available in French)

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Other News of Interest

L'Europe de la Culture : Quelle place et quel financement de la Culture en Europe à l'heure de l'élargissement?

On July 8, 2004, at the Festival d’Avignon, the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity will organize a public debate on the place and financing of culture in Europe. In a communiqué released on June 29, 2004, the French Coalition declared that this debate goes to the heart of current events surrounding Europe’s enlargement to 25 member states, and that dialog between artists and public powers is paramount to the construction of a Cultural Europe. The Coalition maintains that “the European Union must encourage the diversity of the cultures it embodies, establish and maintain strong cultural policies, in particular in the area of live entertainment, and uphold its position to keep culture outside international trade negotiations.” It also reaffirms that “culture is not just any commodity and must not be subjected to the mere laws of the marketplace and of free competition. For this reason, it is important to acknowledge UNESCO’s ongoing initiative to develop a convention on cultural diversity.” This debate will be led in Avignon, France, by Pascal Rogard, president of the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity, with the participation of Coalition members Michel Gautherin and Alain Garlan and in the company of Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres (representing France as Minister of Culture and Communications) and of Peter Müller, Minister-President of the Sarre State and Plenipotentiary for Franco-German Cultural Relations, and Christina Weiss, Minister Delegate for Culture and Media to the Federal Chancellor (both representing Germany), as well as such artists as Luc Bondy and Pippo Delbono. [63]
Communiqué de la Coalition française :  

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La diversité culturelle et le problème des biens et services culturels : la Francophonie à la CNUCED

A communiqué of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) released on June 11, 2004, reports that the Secretary General of the Francophonie, Abdou Diouf, has appointed Ghassan Salamé, former Lebanese minister of culture, as special envoy to OIF at the Eleventh United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD IX) to be held from June 13 to 18, 2004, in São Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Salamé participated first in a high level workshop on cultural industries before expounding more specifically at the June 16 plenary session on the positions defended by the Francophonie with regard to questions of cultural diversity and the problem of cultural goods and services. OIF representatives also participated in numerous other activities taking place within the framework of UNCTAD, notably those dealing with the economic dimension of cultural activity. The communiqué specifies that these interventions come within the scope of the action taken by OIF in view of UNESCO’s adoption in 2005 of a Convention on Cultural Diversity. Moreover, UNESCO has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNCTAD on the development of cultural industries. [63]
Communiqué de l’OIF :

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PrepCom-1 : Première réunion préparatoire de la seconde phase du Sommet mondial sur la société de l'information (SMSI)

The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society was formally launched on June 24, 2004, in Hammamet, Tunisia, in the presence of Sadok Rabah, Tunisian minister of communication technologies and transport, of Mark Furrer, Swiss secretary of state for the WSIS, representing the host country of the first phase, and Yoshio Utsumi, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Some nine hundred delegates representing governments, international organizations, the private sector, and civil society participated in this meeting, which lasted until June 26 and whose goal was to determine specific orientations for the second phase of the WSIS and define expected results, while at the same time building on the dynamics of the Geneva meeting to establish the structural foundations of an equitable and non-exclusionary information society. The meeting focused specifically on a number of themes linked to the information society within the scope of the WSIS’s Plan of Action. The participants discussed what results they expected from the Tunis phase and finalized administrative details for preparatory activities leading up to the Tunis Summit of November 2005. It would appear from the meeting that most countries want the Tunis Summit to result in a political declaration, but also agree that the points that drew a consensus in Geneva—and in particular the fundamental elements underpinning the Declaration of Principles—must not be debated yet again. It would be advisable instead to consider the means of implementing the WSIS’s Plan of Action and the necessity, after having promoted the formation of alliances among participants, of going even further and proposing a means of associating both public and private sectors. Moreover, a number of proposals aim at promoting a clearer commitment by civil society, the private sector, and the media. It was suggested that the itinerary leading up to the Tunis Summit still include both regional and thematic meetings, but fewer of them and along more precise lines of conduct. It will be crucially important to take into account developmental goals for the Millennium and the practical use of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) to gradually reduce the digital divide, as well as to fine-tune mechanisms that can facilitate the sharing of best practices and experiences. As they did in Geneva, many countries will take responsibility for organizing parallel activities to those of the Tunis Summit, structured according to the eleven themes of the WSIS’s Plan of Action. In the second phase, another crucial line of action will be to encourage the participation of the private sector, and especially the creation of alliances regarding those ICTs required to reduce the digital divide. In Geneva, two important questions were left in abeyance, concerning financial mechanisms on the one hand and governance of the Internet on the other. In each case, work groups were charged with pursuing the work begun, and representatives of these two work groups provided an account of the situation at the meeting held in preparation for Hammamet. [63] (Available in French and English)

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La société civile suisse prépare la Convention sur la diversité culturelle

Commission suisse pour l’UNESCO - Berne, le 31 août 2004, 2004/08/31

The Swiss Commission for UNESCO, Traditions pour Demain, and the Berne Declaration have decided to establish Swiss civil society’s position on cultural diversity, specifically on the preliminary draft of the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Respondents’ opinions and recommendations will be compiled in a report and submitted to the appropriate federal agencies to be used for intergovernmental discussions at UNESCO in fall 2004. [63]

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La culture n'est pas un luxe - Coopération et développement: l'aspect culturel

A brochure by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. [63]

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L'Observatoire des politiques culturelles en Afrique (OPCA) - Pour tout savoir sur l'actualité culturelle africaine

The newsletter by the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA) provides detailed information on symposiums, exhibitions, publications, and new Websites in or about Africa. Issued twice monthly in English and French. [63]

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