Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 12, No. 1, Monday, January 9, 2012

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

Happy New Year!

Dear Subscribers and Readers,

At the start of this new year, we wish you all the best for a very happy 2012. May you enjoy peace, good health, love, and diversity all year long!

Today, it is our pleasure to publish the first issue of your Diversity of Cultural Expressions News Bulletin for 2012.

We sincerely thank you for your interest and loyalty.

The Secrétariat à la diversité culturelle team

IN THIS ISSUE :

Convention Update

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 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, five ordinary and two extraordinary sessions have been held, for a total of seven.

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, 119 Parties (118 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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Recent Publications

UNESCO reports on the 5th ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee

The fifth ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris from December 5 to 7, 2011. UNESCO director general Irina Bokova's opening speech has been posted on the UNESCO website, along with the decisions (in English and French) made by the committee.

The highlights of the session were the following:

  • International Fund for Cultural Diversity: Decision by the Committee on projects submitted for 2011 and discussion about evaluation of the Fund's pilot phase
  • Preparation of quadrennial periodic reports
  • Discussion on the current state of Article 21 (International Consultation and Coordination)
  • Discussion about the creation of an emblem for the Convention

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"Approaches to a cultural footprint: proposal for the concept and ways to measure it"

In their report "Approaches to a cultural footprint: proposal for the concept and ways to measure it," authors Elna Roig and Jordi Baltà discuss the concept of a "cultural footprint" and examine its political implications, with a focus on protecting and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe.

The notion of a cultural footprint is inspired by the "ecological footprint" used since the 1990s to measure the impact of human action on natural resources and on ecosystems' capacity to regenerate. Importing the idea of a "footprint" into a cultural context emphasizes the importance of culture for sustainable human development. The development of a cultural footprint is a first step toward developing effective cultural policy impact assessments.

The report is available in English on the Centre Maurits Coopieters website.

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"Implementing the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: The scope and challenge of the interface between business and culture"

The article "Implementing the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: The scope and challenge of the interface between business and culture" ("La mise en œuvre de la Convention sur la diversité des expressions culturelles: Portée et enjeux de l'interface entre le commerce et la culture"), appeared in the December 2011 edition of the journal Études internationales (volume XLII, no. 4).

The author Antonios Vlassis, Ph.D. in international relations at Institut d'Études Politiques de Bordeaux and member of Centre d'études sur l'intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM), sums up the article as follows:

"The Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE), which was adopted in 2005 and came into force in 2007, is an international mechanism that regulates the 'business-culture' interface. However, implementation of the CDCE does not end with ratification, as the Convention must confront reality through the application of its provisions, compliance with its prescriptions, and the existence of means to help give it concrete form. Based on the postulate that there is a discrepancy between standards prescribed by an international instrument and their concrete results, [the author] maps the 'business-culture' issue, focusing on the legal and political aspects of CDCE implementation. Using a political sociology approach to implementation, [the author] explores the issue of CDCE-induced change in the practices of the actors involved."

To order the December 2011 issue or subscribe to Études internationales (available in French only), please consult the Institut québécois des hautes études internationales website.

Études internationales is a multidisciplinary journal dealing with international relations, development, affairs, and business.

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Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

Training seminar for cultural entrepreneurs in Bujumbura

From December 12 to 17, 2011, some twenty cultural entrepreneurs in the fields of music, books, cinema, and television joined with representatives of educational institutions and public cultural agencies to take part in a training seminar organized by the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) in Bujumbura, Burundi.

The purpose of the seminar was to strengthen the participants' project and cultural business management skills, improve their skills in analyzing, formulating, and presenting funding applications to various institutions, improve their ability to negotiate with their financial contacts, and facilitate the creation of a network of cultural entrepreneurs in Burundi. The seminar was part of the IOF cultural policy and industry development program.

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African Coalitions for Cultural Diversity to take stock of cultural challenges in Africa

An information exchange seminar on the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Expressions took place from December 13 to 15, 2011, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Organized by the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) with the support of the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) and the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity, the event was attended by around 20 cultural sector representatives in Africa. The participants had the opportunity to exchange information on the state of cultural policies as well as artists' rights and practices that enhance or harm the protection and promotion of cultural diversity in Africa. They also drafted their projects under the direction of trainers who helped them develop strategies likely to attract financing from sources such as the UNESCO International Fund for Cultural Diversity.

This seminar provided good practice with respect to Article 11 (Participation of civil society) of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions because its purpose was to encourage civil society to take part in effectively implementing the Convention.

The International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) is the voice of cultural professionals worldwide. The Federation brings together 43 national coalitions comprised of over 600 professional cultural organizations from all continents.

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Promotion of Cultural and Creative Industries Program

The Promotion of Cultural and Creative Industries Program (FOMECC = Fomento de Empresas Culturales y Creativas) is an initiative of Interarts, an independent nonprofit organization that has been promoting human development through culture since 1995.

FOMECC was conceived as an operational model in which cultural production, given its potential to create wealth and employment, is understood as an instrument for development. It aims at strengthening the role of artists, creators, and cultural agents through a set of activities, including awareness-raising, training, and specialized advice.

FOMECC's objectives are as follows:

  • Promote the social and economic development of the arts and culture sector by encouraging and strengthening cultural and creative industries
  • Provide opportunities for professional networking, business contacts, and productive alliances for cultural and creative entrepreneurs
  • Increase the number of entrepreneurial projects that are developed into cultural and/or creative businesses
  • Strengthen the professional skills of the creative and cultural sector
  • Systematize information and improve knowledge on the structure and features of the cultural and creative business sector

With the support of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation towards Development ( Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo- AECID), Interarts has carried out various projects, always in partnership with local agents, in the framework of its FOMECC Program. Five FOMECC projects are currently underway worldwide in Columbia, Honduras, Senegal, Peru, and Niger. With regard to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, these projects constitute good practices with respect to cooperation for development (Article 14) because they strive to strengthen the potential of creative and cultural businesses in developing countries to promote cultural diversity.

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Other News of Interest

Research Project: Funding Opportunities for International Cultural Exchange in Asia

The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and its online platform culture360.org are conducting research on funding opportunities for international cultural exchange in Asia. The research will focus on mapping resources for funding in Asian countries that allow individuals or organizations to take part in international cultural exchanges.

This research is being conducted in cooperation with the Japan Center, Pacific Basin Arts Communication (PARC), Japan Foundation, Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS), Arts Network Asia (ANA), and India Foundation for the Arts (IFA). It builds on the Guide to Funding Opportunities for the International Mobility of Artists and Culture Professionals in Europe, referred to in our November 7, 2011 News Bulletin.

In addition to the desk research linked to this project, the culture360.org platform also launched an online survey to enable the study to cover as many funding opportunities as possible. Culture360.org invites arts and culture professionals in Asia to complete the survey, available on the culture360.org website, by January 15, 2012.

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