Cultural diversity

The Convention in a nutshell

UNESCO formally adopted the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions on October 20, 2005. One month later, on November 10, 2005, the Québec government was the first in the world to approve the Convention, which came into force on March 18, 2007.

The Convention was negotiated primarily to meet the needs of states that, while freeing up their markets, also wished to retain their rights as states and governments to maintain, adopt, and implement policies to support culture and the diversity of cultural expressions.

The Convention arose in a context of dialogue between culture and trade. It thus comes as no surprise that the preamble of the Convention expresses its purpose thus:

“ […]Being convinced that cultural activities, goods, and services have both an economic and a cultural nature, because they convey identities, values, and meanings, and must therefore not be treated as solely having commercial value[…].”

To date 135 Parties (134 states and the European Union, as a regional economic integration organization) have ratified the treaty. Since then, the Québec government has repeatedly voiced its support for the Convention and played an active role in implementation activities.

Since the Convention came into force, member states have implemented a number of measures. These include analyzing the periodic quadrennial reports submitted by 71 parties in 2012, 2013 and 2014, as well as the adoption of 12 operational guidelines.

The work has also led to the creation of a database on Article 21, which calls for the promotion of the objectives and principles of the Convention in other international forums. The database is a shared resource for tracking documents that mention the Convention and identifying international forums where it is mentioned.

Many other projects are underway, including some designed to measure the impact of digital technology on and assess civil society involvement in Convention implementation.