Vol. 11, No. 17, Monday, November 7, 2011
Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!
IN THIS ISSUE :
The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and 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 guidelines for implementing the Convention. Since then, four ordinary and two extraordinary sessions have been held, for a total of six.
The third session of the Conference of Parties, which took place in Paris on June 14 and 15, 2011, saw the approbation of operational guidelines concerning three articles of the Convention and measures to ensure the visibility and promotion of the Convention . In total, twelve articles of the Convention now incorporate operational guidelines.
At press time, 118 Parties (11 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.
In September 2011, the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity sent a letter to the ministers of France's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Communications, and Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Industry to inform them of a project called the Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) being carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in the audiovisual sector.
The project was launched to provide a complete list of the obstacles to trade in the audiovisual sector, and measures in favor of cultural diversity such as broadcasting quotas for European productions and nationality-based support for cinema will be included on this list.
The French Coalition for Cultural Diversity is concerned that the STRI will cast cultural diversity measures in a negative light. As a result, the cultural policies currently in effect in OECD member states could be called into question and, in some cases, eliminated .
On October 24, Mr. Jérôme Bonnafont, Chief of Staff of the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, replied to the Coalition in a letter that read in part:
"The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs remains fully committed to defending the principles and values of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions […], consistently promoting them in international forums and agreements in which cultural diversity is an issue." These statements echo Article 21 of the Convention, which stipulates that the Parties undertake to promote the objectives and principles of this Convention in other international forums.
Mr. Bonnafont also assured the Coalition that he is "closely monitoring OECD practices to ensure they do not run counter to the principles of the UNESCO Convention or compromise [ France's] policies promoting cultural diversity or the interests of industry."
To read the letters sent by the French Coalition to the French ministers and a presentation on the OECD Experts Meeting on Trade in Audiovisual Services, see the Coalition's file on this subject in the October 12, 2011 article entitled "OECD : Risques pour la diversité culturelle dans le secteur audiovisuel" (French only).
UNESCO has launched a new international call for applications for technical assistance missions in the framework of a project funded by the European Union (EU) aimed at strengthening the system of governance for culture in developing countries.
In this context, developing countries Party to the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and eligible beneficiary countries under the EU thematic program called "Investing in People" have been identified as beneficiary countries eligible for the call for applications and listed on the UNESCO website.
The next deadline for submitting applications to the UNESCO Secretariat is November 24, 2011 (midnight, Paris time).
Selection criteria and application documents are available on the UNESCO website.
The following documents for the Fifth Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee to be held in Paris on December 5 to 7 are now available on the UNESCO website .
The November 7 issue of the Accords bilatéraux et diversité culturelle newsletter explores the following topics:
Accords bilatéraux et diversité culturelle is published in French by Centre d'études sur l'intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM) for the International Organization of La Francophonie.
The adoption of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Promotion and the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions has further raised the need for relevant statistics in order for countries to be able to measure its impact. Article 9 (Information sharing and transparency) and Article 19 (Exchange, analysis, and dissemination of information) are particularly relevant from a statistical perspective.
As part of its work in measuring cultural diversity, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) has published a report entitled "Measuring the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: Applying the Stirling Model of Diversity in Culture", which examines the feasibility of applying the Stirling Model of Diversity to measure the diversity of cultural expressions.
The results of two studies are presented. The first uses data from the 2007 UIS Survey on Feature Film Statistics, and the second examines the content of private and public television channels in several countries. Both studies acknowledge the utility of the Stirling Model of Diversity to cultural studies and the measurement of the diversity of cultural expressions, while confirming the need for adjustments to the methodology in this area.
To download a copy of the report, visit the ISU website.
The Guide to Funding Opportunities for the International Mobility of Artists and Culture Professionals in Europe covers funding schemes in support of international mobility in the field of culture set up by public and private organizations in different European countries and, more broadly speaking, in candidate countries for the European Union (EU) and member states of the European Economic Area (EEA).
Funding schemes are presented individually on a common template providing the name of the funding organization, the type of mobility (e.g., research grants, residencies, touring incentives for groups), sectors, eligibility criteria, grant size, and a link for more information. The guide covers 750 schemes offered by 500 organizations from across the cultural sector, including live performances.
The guide was edited by the cultural mobility information network On the Move and the international cultural policy analysis agency Interarts. It is available on the On the Move website.
On October 20 and 21, the Department of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa, the Arterial Network, and the founding members of the U40 Africa Network convened a two-day conference aimed at bringing civil society and government together to discuss the application of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Africa, with particular emphasis on South Africa.
The event provided a platform for informing South African civil society as well as key African players about the content of the Convention and the current status of its application. It established ways in which the Convention could benefit the creative sector in South Africa and Africa and set up a mechanism to monitor and assist in the realization of the aims of the Convention.
Moreover, the conference served as a springboard to launch the African chapter of the U40 Network, which is composed of cultural experts and professionals under the age of 40 from around the world. The members of the U40 Network attended a working session dedicated to the development of a plan of action for the Convention's implementation and growth throughout the African continent.
In October 2011, Norway contributed US$788,614.70 to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), bringing its total contributions to US$1,453,087.92.
The International Fund for Cultural Diversity is a voluntary multidonor fund established within the framework of the UNESCO Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. It seeks to promote sustainable development cooperation and reduce poverty to help foster a vibrant culture industry in developing countries.
The IFCD is an important mechanism that enables the Convention to make a real impact on the ground. Currently 31 projects from 24 developing countries are being implemented.
IFCD resources come from voluntary contributions from Parties and other states, regional and international organizations, public and private bodies, and individuals. The Conference of Parties recommended that Parties make annual contributions to IFCD of at least 1% of their countries' contributions to the UNESCO budget.
As of November 7, 2011, a total of US$4,996,191.12 had been collected in the fund.
On November 2, the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity was celebrated at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Declaration, which represented a turning point in the way the international community thinks about culture, cooperation, and development. The Declaration has provided the conceptual foundation for the development of a variety of standard-setting instruments: the Recommendation concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace (2003), the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003), and the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005).
For this occasion, a special meeting of the General Conference was held in the presence of a number of guests, and a cultural event with music, dance, singing, and a fashion show was organized.
As part of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, UNESCO has launched an international video contest for young people aged 18 to 24.
Participants are invited to express their creativity and positive vision of cultural diversity through short videos (max. 1.5 minutes) inspired by the principles of the Declaration.
The public will vote for their favorite videos, which will be presented online on UNESCO's YouTube and You Ku channels. The five videos with the most votes will be presented to an international jury of experts from Algeria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, France, Haiti, India, and Mali, who will select the winner. UNESCO will use the wining video to promote the principles of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.
The deadline for submitting videos is December 2, 2011 (midnight, Paris time), and the deadline for voting online is December 12, 2011 (midnight, Paris time).
For more information on this video challenge, please consult the UNESCO website.