Vol. 14, no 3, Monday, March 3, 2014
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, seven ordinary and two extraordinary sessions have been held, for a total of nine.
The fourth session of the Conference of Parties, which took place in Paris, June 11 to 13, 2013, saw the approval of operational guidelines governing the use of the emblem of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions as well as the revised guidelines on using the resources of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity. In total, twelve articles of the Convention now incorporate operational guidelines.
At press time, 134 Parties (133 states and the European Union 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.
The Secretariat for Cultural Diversity of Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec recently added a website tab for a section that presents two reports directed by Ms. Véronique Guèvremont. This section is in addition to one that features publications by Mr. Ivan Bernier, associate professor in the Faculty of Law at Université Laval. Ms. Guèvremont is also a professor at Université Laval in the Faculty of Law and at Institut québécois des hautes études internationales.
The first report by Ms. Guèvremont is entitled "Preliminary reflection on the implementation of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the digital era." The second is a collective publication by the International Network of Lawyers for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (Réseau international des juristes pour la diversité des expressions culturelles- RIJDEC) of which Ms. Guèvremont is a cofounder. This second document was presented at the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in December 2013 and also addresses the question of implementing the 2005 Convention in the digital era.
To learn more about these publications, visit the website of the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity.
The mission of the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity of Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec is to keep watch on cultural developments around the world, provide culture expertise from a trade perspective, spearhead studies and similar work, consult and work with other ministries, and advise ministerial and governmental authorities on issues of cultural diversity.
In recent weeks, Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, president of Mexico's National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta), presented details of the Satellite Account for Culture for the years 2008 to 2011. This satellite account is part of the national accounting system that keeps daily data on a variety of subjects, such as families and social issues. Mexico has previously had satellite accounts on tourism, health, and the issue of unpaid household work.
The report showed that culture represented 2.7% of Mexican GDP and employed 780,000 workers. The director of economic statistics for the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics (INEGI) mentioned, in addition, that households spent 3.8% of their budgets on cultural product consumption. Among cultural event attendees, data showed that children took part primarily in creative workshops, 18 to 29 year olds made greater use of the Internet and attended live shows, and 30 to 49 year olds opted more for national fairs and events.
A seminar will be held shortly with experts from the field to analyze and discuss the main findings. The indicators used will make it possible to draw comparisons with other countries. The data collected also served to develop the new Conaculta cultural program for 2013 to 2015, as described in the February 2014 newsletter.
The National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta) was created to coordinate cultural and artistic policies, organizations, and agencies. It supports, sponsors, and promotes cultural and artistic events. It also serves as guarantor of artists' creative freedom while encouraging artistic expression from the country's various regions and social groups in order to promote, preserve, and enrich the artistic, cultural, and historical riches that constitute Mexico's heritage.
This study on funding the creative and cultural sectors was part of the new "Creative Europe" program presented in our January 2014 newsletter. One of the program's main objectives is to facilitate funding for the creative and cultural sectors of the European Union. The study drew on an online survey of 3,000 respondents and also included interviews and literature reviews.
The study led to two primary conclusions. First, investment in the creative and cultural sectors has decreased significantly. Indeed, companies with good business strategies are being turned down for bank loans, or don't even apply for them, because their lack of collateral assets makes them ineligible. To alleviate this problem, the "Creative Europe" program will launch a 120 million euro program in 2016 to fund financial guarantees.
Second, the study concluded that management practices at many cultural organizations left much to be desired. For instance, nearly 60% of the organizations surveyed had no business plans in place. The European Commission therefore hopes to establish measures that will help professionals in the creative and cultural sectors developing their management skills.
To see the report, visit the website of the European Commission.
The fifth call for project funding applications under the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) has been launched.
The primary objective of the IFCD is to promote sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries that are Parties to the 2005 UNESCO Convention. This translates into financial support for projects encouraging the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector.
Projects supported by IFCD make possible the development and implementation of policies that protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions. IFCD-funded projects are also for viable cultural industries that strengthen institutional infrastructure.
Since 2010, IFCD has funded 71 projects in 43 developing countries for a total of US$4.6 million. For example, some projects have been to develop cultural policies, others have been to provide stronger backing for cultural entrepreneurs, create a cultural industry roadmap, and develop economic models for cultural industries.
Public authorities and institutions, NGOs in developing nations that are Parties to the 2005 Convention, and international NGOs may submit applications. Organizations in the first two categories must contact their national commissions for UNESCO to have them preselect projects then transmit them to the UNESCO secretariat, while international NGOs should transmit their applications directly to the secretariat. In 2013, four public authorities, five NGOs, and one international NGO obtained IFCD funding.
For more information on these activities and the eligibility criteria for funding applications, see the IFCD website.
The February 2014 newsletter mentioned a series of conferences on promoting and protecting the diversity of cultural expressions. The first of these took place in Montréal in September 2013 and examined the issue of implementing the 2005 Convention. A second conference on March 14, 2014, will look at the linkage between cultural and trade in the digital era.
Three workshops are planned. The first will focus on cultural consumption in the digital era and issues connected with this transformation. In the second workshop, young researchers will present their findings with regard to the conference theme. In the third workshop, university researchers will discuss international organizations that regulate culture and other related subjects, and will discuss culture/trade governance in the digital era. The conference will close with a late afternoon plenary session where it will be possible to discuss common actions in dealing with the issue at hand and preserving the diversity of cultural expressions.
Themes addressed during this conference will reflect questions raised by participants at the first conference in September 2013. The goal of this conference is to promote discussion of research and existing strategies and to fuel debate on how culture and trade are being addressed together at UNESCO.
The second conference, jointly organized by Center for the Study of Integration and Globalization (CEIM) and the Coalition for Cultural Diversity, will take place at Centre Pierre-Péladeau in Montréal on March 14, 2014, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The International Conference on Arts, Culture, Heritage and the National Development Plan will take place in South Africa from October 1 to 3, 2014, with "Strategic Repositioning of Arts, Culture and Heritage in the 21st Century" as the main theme.
Numerous subthemes will also be addressed, including creative industries, the role of art, and the role of government in promoting culture. Contributions may be made in various formats such as presentations, workshops, and round tables.
Those interested must submit their proposals to the conference secretariat by March 30, 2014. Information is available on the event website.
World CP, an international database for cultural policies, recently published a profile of Chile. This is the first compilation and analysis of Chilean cultural policies and the first WorldCP profile of a South American country. The report was presented by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) to its General Assembly in Santiago, Chile.
All WorldCP profiles cover eight central components: historic perspective, cultural policy objectives and principles, decision-making processes, primary issues, legal provisions in the cultural sector, funding for the sector, and promoting creativity. The ninth and final section of the report also contains a list of key cultural policy documents and organizations in Chile.
The profile of Chile can be seen online at WorldCP.
International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) is the primary partner of the WorldCP project. Since its creation in 2001, IFACCA has established a network of programs and resources for the sharing of information in the field of the arts and culture.
Applications are now being accepted for the "UCLG - Mexico City - Culture 21" award. The primary objective of this award is to recognize leaders, municipalities or individuals, in the field of culture and sustainable development. Those who wish to apply must do so by March 31, 2014.
The award has two categories. The first recognizes a policy or project that encompasses the principles in Agenda 21 for Culture. As such, it will be given to a city or government that, through its policies, has encouraged the linkage between culture and democratic governance, participation, and sustainable development. The second will honour a person known internationally for helping tie culture to sustainable development. The winner will be named the cultural ambassador of Mexico City.
For further details on the call for applications, visit the Culture 21 website.
The "UCLG - Mexico City - Culture 21" award is an initiative of the Commission on Culture of the global network United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). Its mission is to promote culture as a fourth pillar of sustainable development, supported by Agenda 21 for Culture as a founding text.