Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 11, no 1, Monday, January 10, 2011

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

Happy New Year!

The Secrétariat gouvernemental à la diversité culturelle team offers its best wishes for 2011 to the loyal subscribers and readers of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions News Bulletin. Thank you for sharing the past year with us! Today it is our pleasure to publish the first issue of your Diversity of Cultural Expressions News Bulletin for 2011. We are delighted to welcome you back among our readers!

The Secrétariat gouvernemental à la diversité culturelle team

IN THIS ISSUE :

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!

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 . Since then, four ordinary and two extraordinary sessions have been held, for a total of six. The fourth ordinary session took place between November 29 and December 3, 2010.

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, 116 Parties (115 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.

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Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Negotiations to conclude a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union: Canadian members of parliament take the first steps towards securing cultural exemption

Recent debates between Canadian members of parliament showed elected officials' desire to protect Canada's cultural policies in the negotiations leading up to a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and European Union (CETA). Here are a few excerpts from the discussions in the House of Commons (Ottawa, Canada) on December 14.

Mrs. Carole Lavallée, MP for Saint-Bruno–Saint-Hubert, addressed the Minister of International Trade, Peter Van Loan, stating that "Canada and the European Union were among the first to support and then ratify this UNESCO convention. Should they not set an example, therefore, and […] agree to completely exempt culture from the trade agreement they are negotiating and include in the preamble to the agreement a reference to the UNESCO convention as a legal framework on which cultural exemptions could be based?"

Minister Van Loan was quick to reply, "The honorable member is quite right. Both Canada and the European Union share an interest in the UNESCO convention in protecting our cultural heritage.[…] I think both sides of the negotiation are on the same page, wanting to see culture legitimately protected. I believe that will be the basis of a Canada-European Union free trade agreement."

Echoing the Minister's sentiments, Kelowa–Lake Country MP Ron Cannan described the government's position as follows:

Canada and the European Union have also been leaders and worked closely together in the development and promotion of the UNESCO convention. Canada and the EU both share an ongoing commitment to the principles of the UNESCO convention, such as the need to maintain the policy space necessary to pursue cultural priorities and to foster cultural exchanges that promote the diversity of cultural expressions.

With respect to culture in the free trade negotiations with the European Union, the government remains committed to defending Canada's cultural interest and will exempt these areas from trade obligations. We believe that the EU will understand our need to take this approach as it has demonstrated a long-standing respect for the needs of countries to have the capacity to develop and implement cultural policy policies. […].

During the course of the negotiations with the European Union, the Government of Canada will continue to work with the provincial and territorial governments toward an outcome that would ensure that Canada's and the European Union's ability to pursue domestic cultural policy objectives related to cultural industries would remain unimpaired.

His statement was backed by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, South Shore–St. Margaret's MP Gerald Keddy, who declared, "The purpose of including a cultural exemption, as it is in all of Canada's free trade agreements, every single one of them, is to ensure the maintenance of adequate flexibility to pursue domestic policy objectives. That is further backed up by the core objective for Canada, as it is again in all trade agreements, including and eventually the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement."

Keddy asked Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan six questions regarding certain aspects of these negotiations (e.g., full cultural exemption, the integrity of the Convention, cooperative agreements attached to the CETA). These topics will be discussed on January 31, 2011, within a Parliamentary committee (Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage). The Newsletter will report on these discussions in February.

The full text of the December 14 debate is available on the website of the Parliament of Canada.

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Call for Experts: Technical Assistance to Strengthen the Governance of Culture in Developing Countries

UNESCO has launched an international call for experts in the framework of the EU/UNESCO technical assistance project aimed at strengthening the system of governance for culture in developing countries. The deadline for submitting applications is January 31, 2011 (midnight, Paris time).

This joint project contributes directly to the implementation of the 2005 Convention and aims to reinforce the role of culture as a vector for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Thirty top experts will be selected through this call and will make up a "pool of experts," reflecting diverse profiles, experiences, and geographical regions and representing a wide range of competences and expertise related to the governance of culture.

Beneficiary countries will select one or several expert(s) from this pool of experts to carry out technical assistance missions designed to build up human and institutional capacities in beneficiary countries at the national and local level.

Professionals with a minimum of 10 years of experience (minimum 7 years for applicants who are Nationals of beneficiary countries) are sought in fields relating to

  • The elaboration and implementation of cultural policies
  • The development of cultural sectors and policy-making in developing countries
  • International cooperation in the field of culture

Citizens of countries having ratified the 2005 Convention are eligible. Applications from experts from developing countries are strongly encouraged. For more information, visit the UNESCO website.

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EU and India launch policy dialogue on culture

In December, the European Union and India signed a joint declaration to strengthen people-to-people contacts between India and the EU through a policy dialogue on culture. According to a press release:

The joint declaration was signed by Jan Truszczyński, Director General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, and Jawhar Sircar, Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Culture.

The signing of the declaration formally marks the launch of a culture policy dialogue between the European Commission and the Indian Government. It shows the growing importance of culture in international relations, in particular since the adoption of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural expressions, to which both the EU and India are parties.

Since 2007, the Commission has invested €2 million through the EU Culture Program in support of five joint initiatives with India. These included the 'Spice' project which brought together the Attakalari Centre for Movement Arts in Bangalore and art professionals from Europe. The Culture Program also backed '2050 Cultures of Living,' an architecture project where the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts and the Srishti School of Art shared views on design and technology with partners from eight European countries.

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The European Cultural Foundation launches the Tandem initiative aimed at bringing together cultural professionals from the EU, Ukraine, and Moldova

The European Cultural Foundation, in cooperation with a number of partners, is launching a new scheme called Tandem, as part of its European Neighborhood Policy. Its aim is to build new and long-term networks and partnerships between cultural professionals from the European Union, Ukraine, and the Republic of Moldova.

Tandem is an opportunity to get to know the environment and the way organizations work in other countries and get an insight into the cultural scene of a new city, region, or country. The scheme works towards creating partnerships (i.e., tandems) to foster project ideas and activities for 2011–2012 and beyond.

The deadline for submitting applications is February 15, 2011. For more information, visit the European Cultural Foundation website.

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Recent Publications

The International Fund for Cultural Diversity: UNESCO publishes the list of the 31 approved projects

The fourth Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions recently approved 31 projects to be funded from IFCD in the framework of its Pilot Phase (over 250 requests for funding had been received by UNESCO during the first IFCD call for applications launched in March 2010).

This decision of the Committee was informed by the recommendations made by the Panel of Experts based on the criteria for evaluation presented in the Guidelines on the use of the Fund.

The Committee also decided to cap all approved projects at US$100,000. The list of approved projects is available online.

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Decisions reached during the fourth Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee

On its website, UNESCO has made available the document describing the decisions reached during the fourth Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The session was held in Paris from November 29 to December 3, 2010. The document is available in French and English.

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Basis and Proposals for Catalan (Para)diplomacy in UNESCO: The Importance of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Martí Petit, research director at the Catalan Broadcasting Authority, recently published an article entitled Basis and Proposals for Catalan (Para)diplomacy in UNESCO: The Importance of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Here is an excerpt:

The 21st century offers Catalonia a much broader horizon to strengthen its international presence. First, globalization has been steadily chipping away at the role of nation states and the monopoly they have held on international relations since the dawn of the modern state. Second, the new Statute of Autonomy is a major tool (albeit not an indispensable one, as will be argued below) for action in certain spheres of the global arena, in particular Articles 193 to 200 of the Statute, which together comprise Title V, Chapter III, 'Foreign activities of the Catalan Government.'

One sphere in which Catalonia has begun to play an important role and enjoys a wealth of possibilities is UNESCO. UNESCO allows participation by bodies that are not strictly states, but whose spheres of action encompass culture (intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, local and regional governments, etc.). Within this favorable context, the Convention on Cultural Diversity is an ideal platform to find new ways for sub-central governments to participate in the governance of globalization.

The article is available in Catalan and English on the UNESCO Centre of Catalonia.

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Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

In February 2011, Brussels will host the Culture in Motion Conference and the Stakeholder Consultation Meeting for the future Culture Program

What is the added value of transnational cultural cooperation projects supported by the EU? What does European financing enable the cultural sector to achieve that would not have been possible otherwise? The European Commission is organizing its third Culture in Motion Conference in Brussels February 15–16, 2011, in order to help answer these and other questions.

A sample of projects funded by the 2007–2013 Culture Program, the Pilot Project for Artist Mobility, and other EU programs (like the Lifelong Learning Program, the Citizenship Program, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program, and the European Regional Development Program) will help show concretely how funding is making a difference on a European level and underline the significant role of culture in supporting smart, sustainable, inclusive growth as well as other EU policies.

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During its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Hungary intends to support the protection of cultural diversity

During its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Hungary wishes to support the protection of cultural diversity. Hungary sees active citizenship, the encouragement of civil organizations, and volunteering as the key element of this. According to the EU website, "With respect to the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy, the objective of the Hungarian Presidency will be to discover the areas and instruments where culture could contribute to meeting European economic and growth targets."

The website also states that Hungary will focus on mobility during its Presidency. "Hungary wishes to promote research to define the factors that impede the mobility of artists and other cultural experts. Budapest would like to establish an information system as well, which supports their mobility. On the issue of museum art collections, the main event of the Presidency will be the series of training and presentation events organized by the Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts in the framework of the project called Collections Mobility 2.0."

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Traveling to learn crafts professions: A new program from UNESCO and the Culture & Diversity Foundation

UNESCO and the Diversity Foundation are jointly launching a new pilot project entitled "Traveling to learn crafts professions" to support young students having completed arts and crafts studies, thereby contributing to the transmission of knowledge as an expression of cultural diversity and a source of creativity.

During the project's first phase, which is already underway and will continue until April 2011, students from France's Écoles Supérieures d'Arts Appliqués in Boulle and Duperré will travel to work and study in India, Vietnam, and Argentina with companies specialized in embroidery, ceramics, weaving, and fashion accessories. In the upcoming second phase of the project, candidates from Africa, Latin America, and the Arabic region will take part. For more information on the project, visit the UNESCO and Culture & Diversity Foundation websites.

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Other News of Interest

When Africa Got Us Groovin'

"More than any other cultural phenomenon, music has traveled from continent to continent, where it has been adopted, blended, and transformed over the years." This is the premise of the exhibition entitled RIFF – When Africa Got Us Groovin' presented by Musée de la civilisation (Québec City, Canada) until March 13, 2011. This exhibition was inspired by Music in Motion by Museum Volkenkunde, in Leiden, the Netherlands.

In jazz or pop music, a riff is a short melodic fragment used repeatedly and rhythmically to accompany a musical piece. "When you put an Angolan djembe, a Cameroonian horn, and a Gabonese xylophone next to Louis Armstrong's trumpet, Gerry Boulet's organ, and Jimi Hendrix's guitar, it's easy to see the influence African musical culture has had on today's popular music in North and South America. […] RIFF – When Africa Got Us Groovin' combines music, ethnology, and history, using sounds and images to recount a fabulous part of musical history. It also examines the social history of the Americas from slavery, to emancipation, to the self-affirmation of blacks in the U.S. and across the Americas," states the press release.

Those wishing to discover or rediscover the exhibition, explore different musical concepts, and even compose a few riffs of their own are invited to visit the exhibition website (available in French and English).

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