Cultural diversity

The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 8, no 4, Monday, February 4, 2008

Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are Underway!

The Diversity of Cultural Expressions News Bulletin will be taking a short break. Publication will resume on February 18, 2008. Thank you for your understanding.

The Editor


Convention Update

Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Recent Publications

Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

Other News of Interest

Convention Update

Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are Underway!

At the first Conference of Parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the Intergovernmental Committee was tasked with developing operational directives for convention implementation. The Committee held a first meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from December 10 to 13, 2007. Other meetings will be held before the next Conference of Parties, slated for June 2009 in Paris, France.

At press time, 78 states had ratified the treaty. On January 21 2008, Nigeria deposited its ratification instrument with UNESCO, thereby joining the ranks of Member States to the Convention.

Efforts to implement the treaty are well underway, but the mobilization campaign to encourage Member States who haven’t 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 the treaty.

Top of page

Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

UNESCO signs partnership agreement with CISCO

On January 24, 2008, in Davos, Switzerland, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, signed a partnership agreement with John Chambers, Chief Executive Officer of Cisco Systems. Mr. Matsuura was in Davos to participate in the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

According to the UNESCO press release, this agreement sets the framework for cooperation between UNESCO and Cisco in areas like education and learning; community access and development; cultural and linguistic diversity and preservation; digital inclusion and capacity-building.

For more information on this agreement and its fields of application, please consult the UNESCO dispatch on the subject.

Top of page

Turkey requests a cultural policy review

On January 24, 2008, the Council of Europe announced that the Turkish Government had decided to take part in the National Cultural Policy Review program. The Council stated that Turkey will become the 29th member state to take part in a Council of Europe cultural policy review.

Initiated in 1986, the Council of Europe’s program of cultural policy reviews “assesses policies in member states at the request of the Minister of Culture, providing comprehensive policy analysis and advice, geared at policy optimization for the benefit of the country's citizens.”

In presenting the program, the Council of Europe writes: “Different models of cultural policies are being applied in Europe. They differ in the way how they are associated with other national policies, in their degree of centralization, their proportion of public subsidies, their priority for heritage or contemporary arts, and so on. However, they are all based on common values such as democracy, justice, equality and pluralism. The focus on particular key principles in cultural policy facilitates a functional approach to evaluation which takes account of national particularities.”

The main principles held by the Council of Europe in cultural matters are:

  • Respect of identity and promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue
  • Respect of freedom of expression, of association, of opinion (cf. the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights)
  • Support of creativity
  • Promotion of cultural participation and democratization of culture


Top of page

Recent Publications

Diversité culturelle et libre-échange à la lumière du cinéma, by Christophe Germann

Les Éditions Helbing & Lichtenhahn have announced the publication of Diversité culturelle et libre-échange à la lumière du cinéma by Christophe Germann. The book is available in French.

According to the publisher, “this work proposes original solutions for implementing the objectives of the new UNESCO convention on cultural diversity. It presents and discusses legal, political, economic issues facing cultural industries in relation to cultural diversity and international business.”

The publisher adds that “using examples from the film industry, this work attempts to establish points of references to help create a new framework of international public law aimed at reaching the objective of cultural diversity in the context of globalization.” The study analyses the current state of relevant UNESCO, OMC, intellectual property, and competition laws and examines the specific cases of the European Union and Switzerland. Les Éditions Helbing & Lichtenhahn adds that “the original approach suggested here consists of exploring ways of prohibiting discrimination on grounds of cultural origin using the principle of the “most favored culture” and “cultural treatment” to make cultural diversity available to all economies.”

The book is available online at the Éditions Helbing & Lichtenhahn website.

Top of page

IRIS Special – Legal Aspects of Video on Demand, published by the European Audiovisual Observatory

On January 28, 2008, the European Audiovisual Observatory announced the publication of an IRIS Special entitled “Legal Aspects of Video on Demand.” The study is available in English, French, and German.

In a press release issued for the occasion, the Observatory wrote, “Following the adoption of the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive in December 2007, it would seem that the legal framework for VoD services in Europe has been solidly defined. However, the latest legal publication by the European Audiovisual Observatory—one of the first analyses to deal with VoD in its changed legal context—shows that the legal parameters for VoD are far from complete. Indeed, many aspects still remain open and subject to dispute.”

According to the press release, this new report is based on discussions held during a workshop organized in June 2007 by the Strasbourg-based Observatory and its two partner institutions, the Institute of European Media Law (EMR) in Saarbrücken and Amsterdam’s IViR (Institute for Information Law). The proceedings of the workshop form the first chapter of this new publication.

The key questions addressed by this IRIS Special are the following:

  • What rights does a VoD provider need?
  • Are contractual standards already in place?
  • What role is played by exploitation windows?
  • What rules determine the relations between different competitors?
  • What experiences from the music industry are useful?
  • How are VoD customers protected?
  • What are the consequences of the newly created dual role of consumer/producer?

The press release mentions that the aim of this IRIS Special is to examine in detail the main legal issues related to VoD services. Particular attention is paid to questions linked to copyright law, competition law and consumer protection. The study of contractual arrangements chosen by the VoD industry, particularly in France, the United Kingdom and Germany, describes various legal approaches and gives this IRIS Special a high degree of practical relevance.

You can order a copy of this study by clicking here.


Top of page

Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

European Commission to launch study on unleashing talent and creativity in Europe

The European Commission reported in a recent press release that the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Youth and Culture, Ján Figel', and the French Minister for Culture and Communication, Christine Albanel, hosted an informal meeting of representatives from the member states' culture ministries in Cannes, France, on January 27, 2008, to discuss the potential of culture to boost jobs and growth. They were joined by music industry representatives Denis Olivennes, Bernard Miyet and Michel Lambot. The meeting took place during the annual gathering of Europe's music industries at the MIDEM international trade fair.

"Innovation and creativity are fundamental to the process of economic growth," Mr. Figel' told the representatives, "and they also boost social development. In our increasingly competitive, globalizing world, policy makers in the member states and the EU need to develop better, 'tailor-made' policies for the creative industries so that they can contribute their full potential to boosting Europe's long-term economic growth."

As the release also notes, “Mr. Figel' told delegates that such 'tailor-made' policies would be most appropriately developed through improved cooperation between member states by proceeding with the implementation of the EU's first ever strategy for culture, which the European Commission proposed in May 2007”. “Mr. Figel' explained that the strategy put culture at the heart of the European project, and introduced a more structured system of cooperation among the member states and the EU institutions, which is known as the 'open method of coordination' (OMC).”

This open framework makes it easier for member states and the EU institutions to work together towards commonly identified goals through peer learning and by measuring progress against mutually agreed benchmarks. The OMC also calls for the involvement of the cultural sector in this process. "This is vital if we are to successfully tailor policy to the needs of the creative sector," Mr. Figel' said.

The press release also mentions that the commissioner announced the creation of a group of experts from member states and a group with civil society organizations, whose tasks will be “to focus on unleashing the full potential of the cultural and creative industries, especially in small and medium sized enterprises, to help achieve the aims of the EU's Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs”.

The commissioner also announced that a new study would get underway in February to investigate the circumstances that effectively contribute to stimulating creativity in the EU. “The study should also focus on ways to further explore and promote the specific role of culture in fostering creativity”, he said, adding: “This study will also help identify the type of actions that should be implemented during the forthcoming "European Year of Creativity and Innovation through Education and Culture" in 2009.”

The European Commission press release provides greater detail on the January 27 meeting, its results, and Mr. Figeľ’s speech.

Top of page

Other News of Interest

Third International Conference of the UNESCO Memory of the World Program

The third International Conference of the UNESCO Memory of the World Program will be held February 19 to 22, 2008, in Canberra, Australia. UNESCO has stated that “the conference provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of this successful 15-year old program, identify its shortcomings, and propose improvements”.

According to UNESCO, the conference will be held in association with a symposium on Intangible Cultural Heritage on 18 February and is preceded by a meeting of the Regional Memory of the World Committee for the Asia-Pacific Region (MOWCAP) on February 17 and 18.

The five main topics for discussion are:

  • Memory of the World in the UNESCO framework: examining its status within UNESCO and its relationship to other UNESCO activities, such as Intangible Cultural Heritage, Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, Cultural Diversity, Human Rights and Cultural and Natural Heritage;
  • Global, regional, and national perspectives—reviewing the effectiveness of the international, national, and regional programs, including the respective registers, in fulfilling the aims of the program
  • Preservation and access: taking a fresh look at the socio-technical and socio-cultural aspects of preservation and access and their role in Memory of the World
  • Sustaining the program: exploring ideas, strategies, and experiences to assist the growth of the Memory of the World
  • Evaluating success: identifying gaps, inconsistencies, and inequities in the program and proposing solutions

This event is organized by the UNESCO Australia Memory of the World Committee.

Contact: Ian Cook, UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Committee

E-mail address:


Top of page

International Conference on Educational Leadership in Cultural Diversity and Globalization, Phuket (Thailand)

The Faculty of Education, Prince of Songkla University (Pattani Campus), is organizing an international conference on Educational Leadership in Cultural Diversity and Globalization. The event will take place from April 8 to 10, 2008 in Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa in Phuket, Thailand.

The objective of the conference will be

  • To serve as a forum for international and Thai educators to present their research on diversity and cultural issues and share their knowledge and experiences on educational leadership roles working with the community to bring about relevant change.
  • To implement knowledge management strategies to create a community of educators committed to cultural diversity and globalization.
  • To help educational academics, researchers, and other professionals gain a better understanding and appreciate diverse cultures in order to bring about social and cultural reconciliation.
  • To develop and establish networks at the local and international levels so as to establish peace and security in this region.

The event is being organized in conjunction with College of Education, University of Missouri-Columbia; Thailand–U.S. Educational Foundation (Fulbright), SEAMEO, UNESCO, and the Thai Council of Deans of Education

For more information, please visit the conference website at the following address:

Top of page