Cultural diversity

The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 6, no 38, Monday, November 6, 2006

Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions The ratification process by member states is now well under way!

One year ago already!

Suivi de la ratification de la Convention de l'UNESCO
 15. Guatemala
14. Peru
13. Republic of Moldova
12.Burkina Faso
10. Belarus
7. Djibouti
5. Monaco
1. Canada


 Why must States ratify the UNESCO Convention?

 Photo gallery


Convention Update

Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

Convention Update

Why must states ratify this Convention?

The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will enter into force three months after the date of deposit of the thirtieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession, but only with respect to those States or regional economic integration organizations that have deposited their respective instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession on or before that date.

To this day, Guatemalais the 15th country to ratify and officially deposit last October 25 its instruments of ratification with the Director General of UNESCO, which it did after Peru (October 16), the Republic of Moldova (October 5), Burkina Faso (September 15), Madagascar(September 11), Belarus (September 6), Togo (September 5), and Croatia (August 31). Thus, these countries join Canada, Mauritius, Mexico, Romania, Monaco, Bolivia, and Djibouti, which are already Parties to the Convention.

Based on available information,29 States have ratify and deposit their instruments of ratification with the Director General of UNESCO or have already concluded their internal ratification processes and are expected to file their instruments with UNESCO in short order. Overall, according to UNESCO, these States can be broken down as follows:

  • Western Europe and North America: 6 (including 3 official deposits)
  • Eastern Europe : 5 (including 4 official deposits)
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: 5 (including 3 official deposits)
  • Asia Pacific: 1
  • African States: 11 (including 5 official deposits)
  • Arab States: 1

The distinction between ratification of the Convention and deposition of the relevant instruments with UNESCO is crucial because a Member State is only deemed to be a State Party to the Convention once it has ratified and filed its documentation with UNESCO’s Paris headquarters. Moreover, there is a clear incentive for the UNESCO Member State to ratify early since those who do will be among the participants at the first Conference of Parties, which will elect the initial 18 member Intergovernmental Committee that will be charged with developing the operational mechanisms of the Convention. The Intergovernmental Committee members therefore stand to have a major role in setting the direction of the new Convention.

That is why we must continue with the mobilization campaign, in order to promote ratification of the Convention with UNESCO Member States to reach the target of the 30 ratification threshold by the end of next June. If we reach this goal, the Convention will enter into force through its first Conference of Parties at the time of the 34th UNESCO General Conference in October 2007.

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Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

ACP ministers of culture come together to promote the ratification of the Convention and the development of cultural industries in the ACP zone – Santo DomingoResolution

The second meeting of the 79 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) ministers of Culture, was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from October 14 to 21, 2006, at the same time as the first cultural festival, organized by the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States, and meeting of experts (see our October 30 Bulletin ).

At this meeting, ACP ministers of culture adopted the Santo DomingoResolution, which reaffirmed “the commitment to intensify South-South cooperation in the area of culture, a commitment affirmed by the resolutions taken by the 33 rd UNESCO General Conference held in October 2005,” and also stressed “the importance of the continuation of North-South cooperation to facilitate capacity building and cultural exchanges, as well as improved access to markets in the North for cultural products originating from the South, and facilitating the mobility of ACP cultural stakeholders".

ACP ministers of culture also “urge the ACP States to ratify, as soon as possible, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, as well as the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Heritage of 2003.” Moreover, they undertakes “ to formulate policies and legal frameworks to prevent and fight piracy in order to create an conducive environment to investors and promoters that will ensure the establishment and development of solid cultural industries in ACP States.” Then, they call“for the elaboration of strategies and programmes to support infant cultural industries in ACP States, which face vigorous competition from more established industries in developed countries, particularly in the audio-visual sector, with a view to improving product quality and competitiveness.”

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Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

Harmonizing cultural policies in Portuguese-speaking countries – 2006/10/31

Culture representatives from the community of Portuguese-speaking countries (CPLP) met for the 5th time on October 29 in Bissau Guinea, to define a new common cultural policy. According to Mario Lopes Martins, Guinea-Bissau’s Secretary of State for Youth, Culture, and Sports, this meeting of CPLP was an opportunity for the eight member countries to strengthen their cultural cooperation, further harmonize their cultural policies, and create a space for cooperation and reflection to define a common strategy for preserving their common cultural heritage.

The African Press Agency reports that Portuguese-speaking countries are joining forces to preserve their cultural values against cultural homogenization and the threat of globalization. 

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European Commission looks at funding for film industry – 2006/10/23

According to journalist Paule Gonzales, European Commission(EC), the guardian of the unrestricted circulation of people and capital between EU member states, is constantly questioning the “eurocompatibility ” of national assistance systems. The EU branches responsible for competition and the domestic market commissioned a study on the forms of support available to the film industry in 25 countries of the Union. The study has raised concern in the European film community (even though nothing is expected to change until 2008), because it will determine whether or not most funding for european film industry is legal.

In most European countries, the forms of assistance—without which few movies would see the light of day—are contingent upon the film being made in the country or region that grants this vital additional support. And EC intends to take specific aim at this issue. The idea is that support would be considered legal provided that it does not prevent films from being made anywhere else within the EU. According to the journalist, this could eliminate the national and regional economic and industrial incentives to finance the cinema. In France, for example, the territorialization of support and the implementation of a regional funding and tax credit system apparently made it possible to relocate shoot locations for one out of every two movies and one out of every three TV fiction series within the space of two years.

According to French cinema professionals, notably Mr. Thierry de Segonzac, who represents technical professionals, “some twenty-odd movies would not have been made without this support.” He also feels that “abolishing this assistance could result in 30% of French productions (some 60 movies) moving abroad.” He suggests that in the name of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the two EC branches in charge of the issue “be taken off the cultural industries file” in order to protect it.

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Benchmarking Creativity in the Asia-Pacific Region – 2006/10/16

The UN Inter-Agency Working Group on Cultural Industry Statistics in Asia will gather on 8-12 November 2006 in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), China to discuss how to measure the impact of culture and creativity on economies and societies.

This consultation which coincide with the annual Asia Culture Co-operation Forum ( ) and the Annual Asian Cultural Ministers' Meeting. will brief, on 9 November, the assembled Ministers and their representatives on topics such as cultural industries data collection and analysis, marketing platforms for cultural industry products and safeguarding cultural capital assets.

Moreover, UNESCO will be organizing two further sessions: The first will explore recent attempts to measure creativity as well as the impact of the creative economy on our well-being, and the second also to be held in order to consider and compare methodologies for the construction of a creativity index to benchmark progress made in the promotion of cultural industries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Working Group includes representatives from UNESCO, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

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