Vol. 6, no 37, Sunday, October 29, 2006
Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: Mobilization efforts for ratification by Member States gain momentum!
|13. Republic of Moldova 05/10/2006|
|5. Monaco |
IN THIS ISSUE :
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, Peru is the 14th country to ratify and officially deposit last October 16 its instruments of ratification with the Director General of UNESCO, which it did after 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 (Source: UNESCO) .
Based on available information , eight (8) other States have already concluded their internal ratification processes and are expected to file their instruments with UNESCO in short order: Senegal, Mali, France, Finland, Austria, and Spain, India (October 27) and Ecuador (October 17).
In addition, several other countries have their ratification processes well underway, including Belgium, the Popular Republic of Congo, Norway, Brazil, Chile, Luxembourg, and Malta, among others (source: Coalition Currents).
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.
At the October 24 parliamentary session, the Québec National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion acknowledging the first anniversary of the adoption by UNESCO of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and reiterating its support of this Convention by calling for its ratification by the largest possible number of countries as well as its implementation and entry into force for 2007. This motion was presented by the Minister of Culture and Communications, Ms. Line Beauchamp.
The second meeting of the 79 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) ministers of Culture, held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic October 14 to 21, 2006, welcomed stakeholders and other professionals in the field of culture to the first cultural festival and meeting of experts organized by the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States (see our October 10 Bulletin).
This second meeting of ACP ministers of culture was to analyze the implementation of the Dakar Plan of Action on the Promotion of ACP Cultures and Cultural Industries, propose concrete measures relating to implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and also decide on partnership activities to implement the resolutions of the World Summit on the Information Society (SMSI) pertaining to culture. During the meeting, important resolutions were adopted on all subjects, including the Digital Solidarity Fund, the support program for cultural industries (film, audiovisual, publishing, music, multimedia, crafts), the creation of the ACP Cultural Observer and the support fund for the intra ACP cultural sector.
Mame Birame Diouf, Senegalese minister of culture and classified historical heritage, emphasized the necessity of "integrating new information and communications technologies into cultural development programs and of harmonizing strategic development strategies for cultural industries."
According to a May 18 press release from th e European Parliament, the European Union (EU) competition authorities have approved tax credits for recording production. This tax measure will apply to artistic, development, and recording expenses for new talent and has a ceiling of 500,000 euros per company and per year. This measure will also allow companies who invest in new talent to receive a tax break equal to 20% of their production and career development expenses.
For France , which backed this measure at the EU, culture and communication minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres declared that the measure "will allow recording companies and particularly independents to continue to grow and to make an important contribution to cultural diversity." According to the minister, there are around a hundred French companies that should benefit. According to UFPI (French Union of Recording Producers), the tax credit "should leave music producers better equipped financially to deal with the challenges of the technological change they are facing today." This measure was included in the French law on authors' and related rights in the information society (DADVSI) and will take effect retroactively to January 1, 2006, as soon as the law is enacted.
This special support measure for cultural industries is already in force in Québec, notably in the recording, entertainment, and video industries. The Government of Québec contributes in several ways to the development and success of the recording and entertainment industry, including through refundable tax credits for sound recordings. These measures were further enhanced in 2006 when DVDs and music videos were made eligible for the recording tax credit. The tax credit ceiling for entertainment productions was also raised, from $262,500 to $750,000. Since 2003, these measures have supported annual production of some 90 sound recordings and 170 performances, representing production outlays of $60 million annually. In addition, the sound recording and variety show support program (PADISQ) of Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) allows companies to receive assistance for production and promotion of sound recordings and performances. In 2005, support was $3.4 million.
These initiatives were reiterated by Québec culture and communications minister Line Beauchamp at the time of the ADISQ gala (Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo), which she attended on October 29 in Montréal. In a press release she declared that "The ADISQ gala invites us every year to celebrate the diversity and vitality of Québec's song, music, and art scene. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the talent of the artists who entertain us, who electrify us, and who help make our culture a touchstone of our identity."
Launched by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Dakar , this project aims to support the introduction of a book-friendly administrative and legal environment in Gambia , Guinea , and Senegal , focusing on books in national languages. Ultimately, the objective is to make the publishing industry of the three countries a model of integration and national production in local languages for the subregion and for many other developing countries. After an analysis of the book industry in these countries managed by an interdisciplinary team, an assessment was shared at an integrated subregional level in December 2005. This assessment has laid the foundations for further plans to establish a Book Law in Senegal and to raise awareness among parliamentarians and political decision makers in the entire subregion.
This was the backdrop for a political seminar on book legislation in Dakar on October 4 and 5, 2006, for experts from Latin America and Africa . This event, which brought together some 20 Senegalese parliamentarians and politicians, as well as two observers from Mali and Guinea and a Colombian expert from the Regional Center for Book Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (Centro Regional para el Fomento del Libro en América Latina y el Caribe, CERLALC), dealt with such subjects as the protection of copyright and problems relating to piracy of original literary works and editorial output; identification systems (ISBN and ISSN) and copyright registration; and presentation on the draft bill of legislation concerning books in Senegal: background, procedures, content.
This seminar, with a focus on South-South cooperation, was organized in collaboration with the UNESCO Dakar Office and the Book and Reading Division of the Senegalese Ministry of Culture and is funded by the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation.
Québec university publishing house Les Presses de l'Université Laval has just published under the direction of Professor Pierre Lemieux a work entitled: La diversité culturelle. Protection de la diversité des contenus culturels et des expressions artistiques . This book reproduces the text of lectures by several academics in Paris on January 26, 2005 at a scientific day organized by CIFDUF (Conférence internationale des facultés de droit ayant en commun l'usage du français). This scientific day had for theme the negotiation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and was billed as a unique opportunity to reflect in depth on the theme of cultural diversity. Some texts were subsequently updated to take into account the adoption of the Convention.
The network formerly known as " Cultures, Identités et Dynamiques Sociales " (CIDS) at Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) is now the Diversité des expressions culturelles et artistiques, et mondialisations network following its reorganization as mandated in a new charter adopted in 2006. This new orientation was inspired by the realization that globalization opens up a dynamic zone that encourages the multiplicity of cultural expressions and resistance to the standardization of thought and ways of life. To come to grips with these concerns, the Francophonie has taken on cultural and linguistic diversity as one of its fundamental missions, to be understood as a multifaceted constellation of programs and research directed toward the collective edification of the contemporary world, demanding the shared contribution of knowledge, wisdom, and creative practices.
To this end, the new network seeks to unearth new areas of research, notably on such subjects as the place and transformation of cultural and artistic expression, globalizations, and the multiplicity of social dynamics, postcolonial research, and contemporary critiques of the notion of culture. This network, which brings together 21 AUF researcher networks, maintains an website where visitors can consult directories of researchers as well as the subjects of research underway and the network's activities, or even locate a researcher and become a network member.