Vol. 9, no 26, Monday, July 13, 2009
Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!
We are pleased to present this week’s News Bulletin on the diversity of cultural expressions. The Bulletin will be taking a summer break. We’ll be back on August 24. See you then!
In the meantime, you can still browse the headings and documents available on our website. We wish you a great summer of cultural exploration and discovery!
IN THIS ISSUE :
The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions came into force on March 18, 2007. At the first session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention in June 2007, the Intergovernmental Committee was given a mandate to develop the necessary operational directives for implementing the Convention. The Committee has met four times over the past two years.
The second session of the Conference of Parties, which took place in Paris on June 15 and 16, 2009, saw the adoption of operational directives concerning nine articles of the Convention. The Intergovernmental Committee was mandated to continue developing operational directives.
At press time, 100 Parties (99 states and the European Community as a regional economic integration organization) had ratified the treaty. On July 2, 2009, Serbia submitted its ratification instrument to UNESCO, joining the States Parties 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.
The International Museum Conference on Circumpolar Cultures will be held in Yakutsk, in the Russian Federation, from July 29 to August 1. The meeting is being organized by the Sakha Republic and UNESCO.
According to the Unesco website, “The conference will explore issues related to the promotion of cultural diversity, the development of intercultural dialogue, and the strengthening of partnerships between museums as keepers of the cultural heritage of circumpolar civilization.”
The conference will also mark the launch of the English-Russian web portal on Circumpolar Civilization at the Museum of Yakutia which was developed with the support of the UNESCO Moscow Office and in cooperation with the Arctic State University of Arts and Culture.
The Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) has announced that a call for projects is currently underway for the International Symposium on Electronic Art ISEA 2010.
“ISEA 2010 RUHR is the 16th International Symposium on Electronic Art, a major biennial conference and exhibition event for art, media, and technology, scheduled for August 2010 in the German Ruhr region.
“ISEA 2010 invites proposals for conference papers, artist presentations, exhibition projects, live performances and art projects in public space. All submissions will be evaluated by an international jury.
“Visual artists, musicians, dancers, designers, engineers, software artists, researchers, theorists, media activists, and hybrids of these, working with recent technologies and exploring the artistic, creative, and critical potentials of digital and electronic media, should submit their projects or papers online.”
For more information, please visit the ISAE 2010 RUHR website.
The President of Québec’s National Assembly, Yvon Vallières, was elected President of the Francophonie Parliamentary Assembly (Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie or APF in French) at the 35th session of the organization held in Paris on July 6.
“Both for Québec’s National Assembly and for Quebecers, the Francophonie is not only a cause, but also a tool for solidarity with others. We are working to give our Assembly the important role it deserves to the greatest benefit of the people we have the honor of representing,” declared Yvon Vallières during his nomination speech.
According to the Ministère des Relations internationales du Québec website, “Mr. Vallières summarized the objectives he intends to pursue during his term, which specifically include strengthening the political influence of the APF with the leaders of the Francophonie and consolidating the cooperation programs that it implements … Furthermore, as concerns the French language and cultural diversity, he intends to rally members of parliament in French-speaking countries to implement the Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted by UNESCO in 2005.”
“Although Section V of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which addresses the Convention’s relationship to other instruments, only contains two articles (20 and 21), it is undeniably the section that caused the greatest debate during negotiations. Its composition was the source of lively debate at the Plenary Session and the Task Force created by those sessions in order to reach a consensus on the question of relationships that would be established between the Convention and other international tools. Many of the basic problems that arose during these negotiations were in one way or another related to issues of relationships between the Convention and other instruments. It is no surprise, therefore, that the final texts of articles 20 and 21 were adopted at the very end of the negotiations.
Two opposing visions divided the States. Seeing in the preliminary draft a veiled attempt at removing the field of culture from the concerns of the World Trade Organization (WTO), certain countries expressed a desire to have it expressly stipulated in the future convention that trade commitments take precedence over all other commitments in cultural matters. But for the vast majority of States, cultural goods and services, being the basis of identity, values, and meaning, could not be considered trade or consumption goods like any other. In their eyes, culture must have a legitimate place next to the other concerns of the WTO. Reaching a consensus meant ensuring that the text of the official Convention clearly established that there was no relation of subordination between itself and other international agreements. In other words, a new balance was required between trade and culture.
These seemingly irreconcilable positions made for tricky legal work. As we will see, the final adopted text contains a certain amount of ambiguity, but faithfully reflects the will of the vast majority of States to exclude any type of subordination between the Convention and other treaties to which they are parties, without compromising any other commitments they have made.
In the following pages, we will begin by analyzing the content of Article 20, entitled “Relationship to other treaties: mutual supportiveness, complementarity and non-subordination,” in order to highlight its progressive character. We will then turn our attention to Article 21, entitled “International consultation and coordination,” which supplements Article 20 by stipulating that Parties must “promote the objectives and principles of the Convention in other international forums” and “consult each other, as appropriate, bearing in mind these objectives and principles.” We will be exploring in particular the role of the Intergovernmental Committee and considering the procedures and other mechanisms that could be implemented to meet these commitments.
The French version of this study can be consulted on our website. English, Spanish, and Arabic versions are being prepared and will be available by the end of August.
The July edition of the Coalition Currents newsletter is now available online. This issue includes
Coalition Currents is available in French, English, and Spanish. Coalition Currents is published by the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity in association with the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity.
In the June edition of its quarterly newsletter, the LEPPM describes a number of interesting subjects and events. The following items address culture specifically:
The Culture Action Europe newsletter published by the European Forum for the Arts and Heritage explores the following topics this month:
European agenda for culture
Council of Europe
The crisis and the arts
Culture Action Europe is available in French and English.
The latest edition of the Culture 21 newsletter announces the publication of The Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP)—a Guide to Evaluating Local Cultural Policies.
“The Guide has been conceived to assess and improve the policies on culture of Spanish municipalities. It contains a wide theoretical reflection and includes a system of quantitative and qualitative indicators, 316 in total. It’s a practical guide with tools for the elaboration and self-evaluation of local cultural policies. The Guide focuses on the following issues:
The edition of the Guide has been managed by Eduard Miralles, Cultural Relations Adviser for Barcelona Provincial Council, and coordinated by Juana Escudero, Head of the Committee on culture of the FEMP. This pioneering experience has been carried out with the support of the Spanish Ministry for Culture.”
For more information or to consult the Guide, visit the Organization of Ibero-American States website (Spanish and Portuguese ).
Radio France Internationale (RFI) has announced updates to the Institut national de l’audiovisuel (INA) website.
According to RFI, “Three years after it was created, the INA website needed a little updating.” Changes include two major innovations—the addition of 200,000 ads from the last forty years as well as an online community and interactive elements.
RFI adds that this will breathe new life into ina.fr. The site housing national audiovisual archives will now be “a veritable databank of modern and organized information on the history of French radio and television. Navigation is now fun, dynamic, and easy. In terms of content, this revamped version is on par with giants like YouTube and Dailymotion, sites it will complement rather than compete with.”
Every week, ina.fr makes many programs available for viewing. In total, it owns the rights to a stock of 23,000 hours of radio and television broadcast, dating from 1920 to June 2008.
“Advertising is an essential component of audiovisual media that has marked audiences for generations. Over the last forty years, 200,000 spots have been broadcast on television and over the radio. INA is proud to have made all of them available online.”