Vol. 7, no 4, Monday, February 12, 2007
The Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will come into effect on March 18, 2007
IN THIS ISSUE :
Having reached the threshold of 30 ratifications, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will come into effect on March 18, 2007 while the Convention ratification campaign continues apace. At the time of writing, the total number of states that have deposited their instruments of ratification with UNESCO and are now party to the Convention is 45.
More than ever, the mobilization campaign to encourage other Member States who have not already done so to ratify the treaty must continue with commitment and conviction. The Convention’s legitimacy will be directly proportional to the number of countries from all parts of the world that ratify, accept, approve, or join it.
On February 12, 2007, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, and the Honourable Line Beauchamp, Quebec’s Minister of Culture and Communications, hosted the fourth Canada/Quebec/Civil Society Roundtable on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, along with representatives of the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity. Held in Ottawa, the meeting presented an opportunity to review upcoming steps to ensure implementation of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The press release for the occasion states that ministers Oda and Beauchamp and Coalition members also agreed to work together to ensure the success of the first steps of implementing the Convention. They stressed the importance of the First Conference of Parties, to be held in spring 2007. In addition, the press release states, they expressed their wish to see this meeting promptly confer on the Intergovernmental Committee its mandate so that it may begin the tasks related to implementing the Convention without further delay.
Elsewhere, a Canadian Press article on Friday, February 9, 2007, claims that Canada intends to become a member of the first Intergovernmental Committee when its membership is determined during the First Conference of Parties to the Convention. According to the article, Minister Oda has even indicated her intention to work towards ensuring that the first meeting of the intergovernmental committee be held in Canada. The event could take place as early as next fall.
Referring to the Convention, the Canadian Press article states that “this treaty allows states to subsidize and protect their culture in spite of international trade regulations. The convention—which has always been opposed by the United States—allows quotas on local radio and television content to be imposed.”
Gallimard has recently published “De la culture en Amérique” by Frédéric Martel. The work describes the cultural system and political culture of the United States. The author’s investigations reveal “a complex and global system … that is extremely efficient and entirely unknown in Europe.” According to Martel, “this cultural model dominates the modern world because it is more participatory than we think it is and less dominated by money that people say it is. By constantly evolving and adapting to the modern world, it has created what can only be described as a cultural system of massive proportions.” He also notes that “Only by taking full account of this system can we truly understand the ‘American cultural exception.’ It includes a large number of charities, countless indirect public subsidies, thousands of foundations, active Black and Latino communities, and an undeniable cultural diversity.” To learn more, visit the author’s website or go to Éditions Gallimard’s site.
Published in November 2006 and prepared by Global Alliance member KEA European Affairs in collaboration with Media Group ( Finland) and MKW GmbH ( Germany), “ The Economy of Culture in Europe” underlines the culture sector’s potential for creating more and better jobs in the future. This document shows how culture drives economic and social development, as well as innovation and cohesion. You can find this study on the Internet (in English and French).
One hundred and twenty individuals representing some seventy cultural organizations and institutions from Swiss civil society took part in “Convention Day” in Bern on January 30, 2007. In two separate messages, they asked the head of the Federal Department of the Interior to ensure that Switzerland ratify two UNESCO conventions, one committing it to national and international plans aimed at the protection and promotion of cultural diversity and the other to the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, at its first opportunity. In these messages, “Convention Day” participants expressed their satisfaction with the Federal Department of the Interior’s clear commitment to ratification by Switzerland of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, as outlined in its explanatory report from December 2006, while also drawing attention to certain aspects that they said were particularly important to Swiss civil society. Participants were mobilized by the Swiss UNESCO Committee and the Swiss Committee for Cultural Diversity in collaboration with Traditions pour Demain and the Swiss branch of the International Council of Organizations for Folklore Festivals and Folk Art (CIOFF Suisse).
In order to formulate a coherent and long-term policy for the promotion of intercultural dialog within Europe and between Europe and its neighboring regions, the Council of Europe is preparing a “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue.” According to the Council of Europe website, “the White Paper is addressed to policy makers and practitioners at national, regional, and local levels to whom it will provide guidelines and analytical and methodological tools for the promotion of intercultural dialogue. The White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue will be the end result of an ‘open and inclusive’ consultation process, ensuring that the experience of the various stakeholders is reflected in the final document.” Sources also state that the start of consultations with the member states of the Council of Europe and the members of the Parliamentary Assembly, in January 2007, marked the beginning of the consultation phase of the Council’s “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue.” The consultation document prepared by the Council of Europe is available online. The results of the consultations will be the subject of a seminar in June 2007.
A meeting organized by the International Network for Cultural Diversity, the Danish Center for Culture and Development, UNESCO, Interarts, HIVOS, and Strommestiftelsen will be held March 5 to 7, 2007, on Île de Gorée, in Dakar, Senegal. The Conference aims not only to strengthen the recognition and support of creative industries as a tool for socioeconomic development, but also to foster networking and sharing of best practices. Discussions will explore capacity-building initiatives, poverty reduction, micro-credit and income generation as well as the role of the media and the diaspora in promoting creative industries. The session will also include case studies on the involvement of public and private development agencies in this emerging sector. For more information, contact Ibrahima Seck by email at: email@example.com