Cultural diversity

The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 4, no 1, Monday, January 12, 2004

Cultural diversity rendezvous: 2003 in review - Part 2 of 2

Bureau de la diversité culturelle would like to extend you its best wishes for 2004! Cultural Diversity News is back in force for the New Year this Monday, January 12, 2004, with the second installment in its 2003 review.


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Multilateral relations - (suite)

European Union

The European Union continued to affirm its commitment to cultural diversity, a commitment it is also bound to respect under Article 151 of the Treaty on European Union. “Seeing that our ambition is not simply to create a free trade zone, but to unite peoples, respect for cultural and linguistic diversity within the EU is a fundamental principle that the Union has both a mission and obligation to defend in international trade negotiations affecting our cultural policies.” In this respect, maintaining and respecting diversity are crucial to intercultural dialog and cultural interchange at the global level.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament : " Towards an International Instrument on Cultural Diversity" - COM(2003), Brussels, 2003/08/27

European Parliament resolution on Cultural Industries - P5_TA(2003)0382, The European Parliament, 2003/09/04

European Parliament resolution on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) within the WTO, including cultural diversity - P5_TA(2003)0087,  The European Parliament, 2003/03/12

Rapport d’experts et document de travail - CC-Cult(2001)15: "Vers une stratégie transversale pour la promotion de la diversité culturelle", Conseil de l’Europe

Déclaration d’Opatija : Conférence des Ministres européens responsables des Affaires culturelles, Opatija (Croatie), 22 octobre 2003

Draft report on preserving cultural diversity: the role of the European regions and international organisations such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe - 2002/2269(INI)), The European Parliament, 25 September 2003

Working Document on Safeguarding and Promoting Cultural Diversity - DT\490273EN.doc, The European Parliament, 16 July 2003


"Les négociations sur les services culturels à l'OMC" : Commission de la Culture du Parlement européen, - Discours de Monsieur Pascal LAMY, Commissaire européen au Commerce, Bruxelles, 19 mai 2003

"Diversité culturelle: l'Europe en première ligne", Intervention de Madame Viviane REDING, Commissaire européenne chargée de l'Éducation et de la Culture, Deuxièmes Rencontres internationales des professionnels de la culture, Paris, le 2 février 2003

"Promotion de la diversité culturelle", Intervention de Monsieur Pascal LAMY, Commissaire européen au Commerce, Deuxièmes Rencontres internationales des professionnels de la culture, Paris, le 4 février 2003

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The World Trade Organization (WTO)

The 5th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Cancun, Mexico, from September 10 to 14, 2003, was meant to lend political impetus to the “Development Round” negotiations launched in Doha, Qatar, in 2001. Trade ministers met to discuss progress in a variety of areas (agriculture, services, market access for non-agricultural goods, the review of certain WTO rules, trade and the environment, rules of origin, and dispute settlement) and adopt as many decisions as possible (terms of negotiation, new timelines for certain topics) to help negotiations progress. As agreed upon in Doha, ministers also discussed whether the time was ripe to start talks on the four so-called “Singapore Issues”—trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement, trade and investment, and trade and competition—and set political guidelines for these negotiations, as the case may be. The issue of cultural diversity was not addressed at the ministerial meeting, but rather at a parallel event organized by civil society organizations. International campaigns for the defense and promotion of cultural diversity generally call on states and governments to reject liberalization and use restrictive clauses to protect cultural policies whenever trade negotiations (WTO, FTAA, bilateral agreements, etc.) or issues raised in a context of trade and investment liberalization threaten their capability to implement measures supporting culture.

Canada and the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ottawa (Canada), 15 july 2003

Fiche d’information sur l’OMC, 24 février 2004

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The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

The FTAA ministerial meeting was held in the U.S. city of Miami from November 19 to 21, 2003. This summit, and the WTO ministerial meeting in Cancun that preceded it, are central to the current multilateral trade agenda and pose similar challenges to the cultural sector. Unlike the WTO, the FTAA is an emerging entity whose existence is the subject of negotiation. It will constitute a free trade area comprised of 34 countries from North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean, Cuba excepted. Described as the largest free trade zone in the world, the FTAA, which will encompass a population of over 800 million, will extend NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico) to the entire Western Hemisphere. With its broad-reaching chapters on services and investments, it will be an extension of GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services). Like the current round of WTO negotiations, FTAA negotiations should be completed by January 2005.

Ministerial Declaration: Free Trade Area of the Americas Eighth Ministerial Meeting, Miami (USA), November 20, 2003

Cultural Diversity in the Free Trade Area of the Americas - Canada's Position, Ottawa (Canada) 21 february 2003

Current Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Negotiations :Background Information on Services Negotiations, Ottawa (Canada), 7 november 2003

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The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group)

Last June 20, 2003, the first meeting of ministers of culture of African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group) was held in Dakar, Senegal, in partnership with the European Commission, UNESCO, and ILO (International Labour Office). Delegations from sixty-five countries took part in the event, including some fifty led by their ministers of culture. The June 20 ministerial meeting was preceded by a meeting of experts. Three key themes were addressed, including promoting cultural diversity and protecting cultural heritage

Dakar Declaration on the Promotion of ACP Cultures and Cultural Industries, Dakar (Senegal), 20 June 2003

Dakar Plan of Action on the Promotion of ACP Cultures and Cultural Industries Dakar, Republic of Senegal, 20 June 2003

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African Union

At the Summit attended by some 50 African member nations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on July 10, 2003, the AU Executive Council adopted a resolution expressing strong support for the UNESCO initiative to develop and implement an international convention on cultural diversity by 2005.

Décision EX/CL/Dec. 67 (III) : "Décision sur l'élaboration et la mise en place d'une convention internationale sur la diversité culturelle et d'une convention internationale sur la sauvegarde du patrimoine culturel immatériel", Sommet de l'Union africaine, Conseil exécutif de l'Union africaine - Addis Abéba (Ethiopie), 10 juillet 2003

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Espaces linguistiques partenaires (Francophonie, OEI, Union latine, CPLP, Ligue des États arabes, ALECSO...)

Representatives of the Council of Europe, the League of Arab States, the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), the Organization of Iberian American States for Education, Science and Culture, (OEI), the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Latin Union met in Mexico City from April 2 to 4, 2003, for a second symposium entitled “Three Linguistic Spaces: Cooperation, Diversity, and Peace.” Participants agreed as to the need to promote a renewed vision of interregional cooperation aimed at promoting cultural diversity and the implementation of an international cultural diversity convention.

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The International Network on Cultural Policy (INCP)

The International Network on Cultural Policy, which numbers 59 member countries, is an international forum where national ministers responsible for culture can explore and exchange views on new and emerging cultural policy issues and develop strategies to promote cultural diversity. INCP held its 6th annual ministerial meeting in Opatija, Croatia, from October 16 to 18, 2003. During the meeting, the ministers familiarized themselves with the new draft Convention on Cultural Diversity prepared by the Working Group on Cultural Diversity and Globalization, as well as various cultural funding methods.

  • Draft International Convention on Cultural Diversity by the Working Group on Cultural Diversity and Globalization presented to Ministers at the 6th Annual Ministerial Meeting of the International Network on Cultural Policy in Opatija, Croatia, October 16-18, 2003 :

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International Telecommunication Union / United Nations Organization (ITU/UNO) : World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

The first ever World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was held in Geneva from December 10 to 12, 2003. It will be followed by a second edition in Tunis from November 16 to 18, 2005. The goal of the summit was «to build a people-centred, inclusive and development oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life». The principles of cultural diversity, universal access to information, and freedom of expression were at the core of this international summit on the creation of an equitable information society. During the event, Geneva also played host to a World Electronic Media Forum on the new world media environment from December 9 to 11.

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The Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity (CCD)

Founded in 1998 by leading Québec cultural organizations, the Coalition brings together the main professional bodies from Canada’s cultural community. Its 32 member associations represent creators, artists, producers, distributors, broadcasters, and publishers in the book, film, television, music, performing arts, and visual arts sectors. According to CCD, cultural diversity is a fundamental right that states have a duty to promote and protect. To this end, states and governments must be free to adopt the policies necessary to support diverse forms of cultural expression. Consequently, CDC defends the principle that cultural policies should not be subject to the restrictions imposed by international trade agreements.

The Coalition for Cultural Diversity, in cooperation with Comité de Vigilance pour la diversité culturelle, helped organized the Deuxième rencontres internationales des organisations professionnelles de la culture held in Paris from February 2 to 4, 2003. This international event drew some 100 professional associations from over 30 countries.

La Déclaration du Louvre : "Déclaration finale des Deuxièmes Rencontres internationales des organisations professionnelles de la culture", 4 février 2003

Comité de Vigilance pour la diversité culturelle is a French organization representing professional cultural organizations (film, performing arts, publishing, music, graphic and visual arts, multimedia) that defends cultural diversity in the face of international trade negotiations. The Committee coordinates the actions of French, European, and international bodies that share similar goals.

Comité de Vigilance and the Canadian coalition together staff the secretariat of the International Liaison Committee of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity. The International Liaison Committee has nine members (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Korea, France, Mexico, New Zealand, and Senegal) representing over 170 cultural professional associations. The Canadian coalition and Comité de Vigilance maintain links with foreign professional organizations and international federations that have similar concerns and objectives, and encourage professional organizations worldwide to join forces in national coalitions that can defend cultural diversity with their governments. Two new cultural diversity coalitions were established in 2003, one in Senegal (April 2003), the other in Burkina Faso (December 2003).

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The International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD)

The International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD) is a worldwide network representing artists and cultural activists, organizations, and industries from every continent and every sector and field of the cultural community. It draws its member organizations from over 50 countries and dedicates its efforts to opposing the cultural homogenization resulting from globalization. INCD holds annual conferences on cultural diversity issues and also participates in meetings on cultural diversity and globalization.

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Les rencontres cinématographiques de Beaune

The 13th Rencontres Cinématographiques de Beaune held in France in October 2003 drew 450 directors and film industry professionals of various nationalities to discuss European and international issues, including cultural diversity.

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