Vol. 9, no 3, Monday, February 2, 2009
Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!
IN THIS ISSUE :
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 regular meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from December 10 to 13, 2007, and a special session in Paris, France, from June 24 to 27, 2008. The second ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee recently took place in Paris from December 8 to 12, 2008. Another Committee meeting will be held in March 2009, before the Conference of Parties, scheduled to occur in June in Paris.
At press time, 94 states had ratified the treaty. 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.
On January 26, 2009, the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity released a brief statement regarding negotiations surrounding an agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Korea. The full text is as follows.
“The French Coalition for Cultural Diversity is concerned about the negotiations surrounding the proposed Korea-EU free trade agreement, to which has been annexed a protocol on cultural cooperation. Hoping to sign this agreement as quickly as possible, the DG Trade offered the Koreans the same protocol model signed with Caribbean countries, without taking into account that Korea’s audiovisual industry is not that of a developing country. Despite repeated requests by professionals, no impact study has been carried out. Culture and audiovisual are being used as currency in global trade negotiations, which is unacceptable. Culture enjoys special status, as recognized by the UNESCO convention, and must not be part of trade agreements. Discussions surrounding cultural cooperation protocols must be removed from trade negotiations, and can only be offered to countries having signed the UNESCO convention.”
The European Commission has announced the adoption of MEDIA MUNDUS, a broad international cooperation program for the audiovisual industry aimed at strengthening cultural and commercial relations between Europe's film industry and filmmakers in third countries. The EU will provide €15 million of funding from 2011–2013 for projects submitted by audiovisual professionals from the EU and third countries.
The proposed new MEDIA MUNDUS program will—
For more information on this program, which will run from 2011–2013, please consult the press release available at Europa.
The Republic of Argentina will host the XVI Forum of Ministers of Culture and Officials in Charge of Cultural Policies of Latin America and the Caribbean, in Buenos Aires on February 26 and 27, 2009.
The central theme of the meeting will be Culture within the context of the current world crisis: Challenges and Opportunities:
This event takes on special meaning this year, as it marks the 20th anniversary of the Forum, which includes 33 states from Latin America and the Caribbean.
For more information, please consult the text available on the Latin American and Caribbean Portal of Culture website.
In the 2008 edition of its annual report, the Commonwealth Foundation looks back on its main accomplishments in 2007 and 2008 and stresses the importance of promoting the diversity of cultural expressions: “Our policy work aims to ensure that culture contributes to all aspects of national development. We achieve this by working in partnership with civil society, cultural practitioner groupings, governments, and other international agencies. Supporting civil society’s engagement with the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is a focus for us. We have worked to improve civil society interaction with culture ministers and senior officials, including Commonwealth Ambassadors to UNESCO. Working with UNESCO allows us to benefit from experience in Francophone countries while bringing Commonwealth learning to the table.”
The document is available at Commonwealth Foundation website.
In December, the studies, forecasting, and statistical branch (DEPS) of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication published a study by Valérie Derouin from the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). The study on two annual surveys on services and companies conducted by INSEE and SESSI (Service des études et des statistiques industrielles). DEPS analyzed and interpreted the results for the cultural field. The cultural industry sector is a branch of the information and communication sector that combines the design, creation, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of reproducible physical media or communication goods. In 2006, cultural industry sector generated 7.3% of service industry sales, or €43 billion, and employed 3.8% of the workforce, or 157,000 jobs (annual average salaried staff equivalent to full time employment).
French Language Week is held every year in spring around Journée internationale de la Francophonie on March 20. It aims to give the general public the opportunity to celebrate the French language by marking attachment to the language and celebrating its richness and diversity.
Holding the place of honor in 2009 will be ten words that reflect the French language’s ability to adapt to the realities of tomorrow’s world. As true indicators of modernism, these words invite us to describe or imagine the future in French: ailleurs, capteur, clair de Terre, clic, compatible, désirer, génome, pérenne, transformer, vision. These ten words were chosen by Belgium, Québec, Switzerland, and the International Organization of La Francophonie. This joint effort points to a shared vision of the role of the French language in active societies.
Each of these words will be adopted by a celebrity who will cast it in a new light based in their respective experience, profession, or imagination. These “words for tomorrow” will be at the heart of a number of events held in France and across the world. Events will include an exhibit on the words presented in over seventy partner cities, caravans of the ten words making their way through France and some twenty French-speaking countries, a contest for secondary school and college students, a slam nights tour and ten words contest in many parts of France, a “word truck” that will test school children’s knowledge of French, and a dictation for engineering students.
Hosted by the European Commission, the European Year of Creativity and Innovation in 2009 is aimed at making the public aware of the importance of these two concepts through themes including cultural diversity as a source of creativity and innovation. Some thirty countries will take part in this initiative.
A second objective for this year, which follows the European Year of Intercultural Dialog, is to promote creativity and innovation in various sectors, particularly education, culture, and environmental, social, and regional policies as well as the information society.
Many promotional campaigns and a series of events will be organized throughout the year at the European level as well as nationally, regionally, and locally. For more information, please visit the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 – EUROPA website.