Vol. 9, no 22, Monday, June 15, 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 Intergovernmental Committee has held two regular meetings to date: one in Ottawa, Canada, from December 10 to 13, 2007, and the other in Paris, France, from December 8 to 12, 2008. In addition to these meetings, two special sessions were held in Paris from June 24 to 27, 2008, and from March 23 to 25, 2009.
The same city will also host the second Conference of Parties this week from June 15 to 18.
At press time, 99 Parties (98 states and the European Community as a regional economic integration organization) 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.
Canada’s Coalition for Cultural Diversity website features a report on the first meeting of the Mercosur coalitions and neighboring countries, which was held from May 20 to 22, 2009, in Paraguay. The meeting was organized jointly by the National Secretariat for Culture of Paraguay and the Paraguayan Coalition for Cultural Diversity. Excerpts from the report follow.
“Close to 150 persons attended the opening ceremonies, which took place at the National Congress of Paraguay with several members of Congress and local diplomatic authorities in attendance. Among the guests of honor were Enrique Gonzalez Quintana, Chairman of the National Congress; Ticio Escobar, Minister for Culture, Industry, and Commerce; Iris Rocio Gonzalez, Senator and Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Culture; and Alejandra Diaz of the Paraguayan Coalition, who each welcomed the attendees.
“Following these speeches, Frédéric Vacheron, representative of UNESCO’s regional Mercosur office, and Jean-Luc Pilon, representative of the Secretariat of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD), delivered presentations on the application of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and on the challenges facing the coalitions and cultural organizations as part of the current campaign for ratification and implementation of the Convention.
“A public seminar on implementation of the Convention followed. During this seminar, which was attended by more than one hundred people, coalition representatives presented models of cultural policies currently in force in the various cultural sectors of their respective countries. These presentations enabled an exchange with the public, and also allowed for a consideration of concrete actions to implement the Convention.
“On the final day of the meeting, delegates from the coalitions and professional cultural organizations moderated industry roundtables along with representatives of Paraguayan organizations with a view to cooperating on the development of a national convention implementation action plan.
“The Mercosur coalitions also held a dedicated meeting of their own at which representatives reported on their activities at the local level since a previous meeting of the Coalitions of the Americas held in Bogotá in November 2007. Following lively discussions, the coalitions in attendance undertook to immediately begin work on a number of specific projects, which they included in the final declaration.”
Coalition representatives notably committed to writing reports on their activities and their countries’ main culture policies. The declaration is available in Spanish from the IFCCD website.
“The ministers of culture of the 27 Member States recognize that a strategic investment in culture is vital for strengthening a dynamic creative society and creating jobs in the European Union,” according to the European Commission’s website.
The E.C. notes that “on May 12 the ministers of culture of the E.U. Member States adopted Council Conclusions on culture as a catalyst for creativity and innovation. This policy document is based on the second pillar of the European Agenda for Culture in a globalizing world.
“The document highlights the specific contribution culture and cultural players can make to creativity, which is in turn a powerful driver for the innovation necessary to generate economic growth, competitiveness, and employment in Europe. It therefore calls for a broad concept of innovation going beyond technological innovation as part of the Lisbon strategy beyond 2010.
“It calls in particular for cultural policies better targeted at promoting creativity, for better synergies between the cultural sector and other sectors of the economy, for stronger links between cultural and other relevant policies, as well as for measures to better nurture creative talents at E.U., national, regional, and local levels.” The document is available in English from the European Commission website.
The International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) website reports that, addressing some 150 public television professionals belonging to CTF (Communauté des télévisions francophones) at their annual general assembly, Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of La Francophonie, stressed that “cultural diversity and dialogue between civilizations will pass from words into action once we finally understand that we have no choice but to live together and to work together to solve problems that go beyond the borders of nation states and decide our common future as one.
“I am positive that we are right at the heart of public service television’s philosophy and mandate: to entertain, inform, and enlighten viewers no longer considered to be mere consumers, but citizens of their countries, regions, and the whole world,” he continued.
CTF brings together 12 public French-language channels from France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada: France 2, France 3, France 4, France 5, TV5Monde, RFO, RTBF, TSR, Radio-Canada, Télé-Québec, RDI, and TV5 Québec Canada. The secretary general’s speech is available from the OIF website.
The declaration adopted on June 4, 2009, at the Kairouan Conference is available from the OIF website.
The conference brought together 20-odd international organizations, including the United Nations, the European Council, the African Union, the League of Arab States, the Arab Maghreb Union, UNESCO, Alecso, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the African and Islamic development banks, not-for-profit organizations, and specialist forums.
According to OIF, the conference sought to “look for innovative ways to develop new international cooperation policies in favor of a lasting dialogue between civilizations. It dovetailed with the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted in 2005 by the vast majority of UNESCO Member States and the Islamic Declaration on Cultural Diversity adopted by the Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers in Algiers in December 2004.” The press releases (English, French, and Arabic) and speeches (English and French) for this event are available from the OIF website.
CEIM (Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation) has published the latest issue of the Accords bilatéraux et diversité culturelle newsletter on its website. The June edition includes articles on
The cinema industry
The International Music Council (IMC), an international nongovernmental organization that enjoys formal associate relations with UNESCO, is pleased to announce the 3rd IMC World Forum on Music will be held in Tunis, October 17 to 22, 2009, under the title “Access to Musical Diversity.” The forum is organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage Preservation of the Tunisian Republic.
IMC presents its World Forum on Music (WFM) as a global knowledge-building platform on music and society in the 21st century. It explores a variety of topics from various cultural, political, and economic perspectives. The IMC World Forum on Music is considered one of IMC’s main contributions to setting the stage for the free celebration of music in the world.
In a press release, IMC states that “the 2009 World Forum on Music will focus on five areas which IMC considers of crucial importance to the world of music:
“By seeking synergies across different sectors, this high-level forum will provide exceptional opportunities for scholars, government officials, private sector executives, professionals from the civil society, artists, and students to engage in serious debates on current key issues. The forum will also include a session that is specifically dedicated to Arab music, presenting local traditions as well as contemporary production. Workshops will be organized to make participants better equipped to act proactively as advocates for music in their own environments and within their special fields of interest.”
To obtain a copy of the entire press release and learn more about the event, please visit the International Music Council website.
The next World Summit on Arts & Culture will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from September 21 to 25, 2009. The event will spotlight the role played by public policy in the arts with regard to current economic, social, and cultural challenges. Special emphasis will be put on issues affecting public support for the arts in developing countries and the role of the arts in cultural diversity.
The summit will also be a networking opportunity for African cultural organizations and will encourage the sharing of best practices.
To find out more about the event, visit the summit website.
Casa de las Américas, a Cuban research center on culture and literature in South America and the Caribbean, has sent out an invitation to take part in the 51st edition of its literary award for 2010. The contest, which is aimed at Latin American authors, is open to authors of unpublished poetry and plays. Brazilians who have had works other than fiction written and published in Portuguese in 2008 or 2009 are also eligible, along with English-speaking writers from the Caribbean who have published in English or Creole between 2006 and 2009. Entries must be submitted by October 31, 2009.
This year—the bicentenary of the wars of independence in Spain’s colonies in the Americas—Casa de las Américas is launching a special award for essays on the repercussions of this major event.
For more information on the awards, visit the Casa de las Américas website.