This is a great place to find answers to questions you may have about the Convention.
The International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) was instituted under Article 18 of the Convention and promotes sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries. Projects selected must encourage the emergence of a thriving cultural sector, for example by implementing or developing cultural policy to promote diverse forms of cultural expressions or by strengthening the institutional structures underlying cultural industries. The IFCD does not however fund projects solely aimed at producing cultural expressions. Projects may receive up to $100,000 in funding.
IFCD beneficiaries may be Parties to the Convention or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from developing countries, as well as international organizations that meet the definition of civil society NGOs.
Eligible projects are first evaluated by a panel of international experts from the five UNESCO-defined regions. The panel’s recommendations are then sent on to the Intergovernmental Committee, which meets every year in December. The Committee is in charge of making final decisions regarding projects to fund.
Section VII of the Convention (Final clauses), articles 26 and 27, stipulate that states can deposit instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession, in accordance with their respective constitutional procedures, to the Secretary-General of UNESCO. To find out more about the steps involved in becoming a party to the Convention, visit the 2005 Convention website, where the ratification process is described in full.
Ratifying the Convention is very important for a host of reasons, including the following:
It is critical that the Convention be ratified by as many parties as possible, from every region of the world. Currently, Asia-Pacific and Arab states are underrepresented. As more states become parties to the Convention, it will exert greater influence in international law. Therefore, states that are party to the Convention and civil society actors must continue their work to encourage the ratification of the Convention and boost visibility by promoting it in international forums.
Under Article 9, which deals with information sharing and transparency, the Parties to the Convention must submit a periodic report to the Convention Secretariat every four years on their territory’s implementation of the Convention.
This report allows the Parties to share experiences and best practices in the diversity of cultural expressions. It also discusses how the Parties deal with certain cross-sector matters, such as digital issues, gender equality, and youth participation. Lastly, the Parties are encouraged to involve members of civil society in drafting the report—an important consideration given Article 11 of the Convention, which recognizes the fundamental role of civil society in the matter.
Québec submitted its first quadrennial periodic report in 2012 as an appendix to the Canadian report tabled with the Convention Secretariat, and will submit a second report in the same way in 2016.
The Expert Facility was founded in 2011 as part of a European Union–funded project to strengthen the system of governance for culture in developing countries. At the beginning it comprised 30 high-level international experts on cultural policy, governance, and industry, drawn from 24 countries. The Facility exists to support developing countries through technical assistance missions to strengthen their human and institutional capacities as well as their cultural governance systems.
It was reformed in 2015 to enhance its ability to support capacity-building initiatives in countries implementing the Convention. A call for expressions of interest was launched and a new, more geographically diverse, gender-balanced group of 43 experts selected, representing a broader range of fields.
The Expert Facility can be sought out for various interventions, including workshops, advisory technical assistance, short- and long-term capacity building missions, monitoring, or coaching.
Five Canadians are members of the Facility, including Véronique Guèvremont, a professor at Université Laval’s Faculty of Law, holder of the UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and co-founder of the International Network of Lawyers for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and Charles Vallerand, former executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity (to June 2016).
The Conference of Parties is made up of all Parties to the Convention. It is the plenary and supreme body of the Convention and meets in ordinary session every two years. Its functions include the following:
The Intergovernmental Committee is made up of 24 Parties to the Convention elected for a term of four years. The Committee operates under the authority of the Conference of Parties and is accountable to it. It meets each year in December. The Committee’s main duties are the following:
The Secretariat assists the Convention bodies. It prepares the documentation of the Conference of Parties and the Intergovernmental Committee, as well as draft agendas of their meetings and helps with and reports on the implementation of their decisions.
There is no definition of operational guideline in the text of the Convention. However, Article 22.4(c) entrusts the Conference of Parties with responsibility for “approving the operational guidelines prepared by the Intergovernmental Committee.” In addition, Article 23.6(b) of the Convention entrusts the Intergovernmental Committee with the role of “preparing and submitting for approval by the Conference of Parties, upon its request, the operational guidelines for the implementation and application of the provisions of the Convention.”
What does this mean in concrete terms?
An operational guideline is a tool available to the State Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions to clarify, explain, supplement, and facilitate the understanding of an article or a provision of the Convention, especially when the text of the Convention is vague or not explicitly defined.
Operational guidelines help guide the Parties in implementing articles or provisions of the Convention by defining the terms in a concrete manner. For example, the operational guideline on Article 9 provides a framework for the quadrennial periodic reports that Parties must submit to the UNESCO Secretariat four years after having deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, and every four years thereafter.
To date, twelve articles of the Convention have been the subject of operational guidelines:
There are also operational guidelines on the following topics:
These operational guidelines are available on the UNESCO website in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Serbian.
At the request of the Conference of Parties, an operational guideline may be revised by the Intergovernmental Committee, which then must obtain the approval of the Conference of Parties.
To date, two operational guidelines have been revised:
At the eighth session of the Intergovernmental Committee in December 2014, the Committee decided to submit, at the fifth session of the Conference of Parties, “the proposal to mandate the Committee, in consultation with the Parties, to prepare, at its ninth ordinary session, draft operational guidelines on digital issues and the diversity of cultural expressions that will take into account, in particular, international cooperation” (Decision 8.IGC.12).
During its 5th ordinary session in June 2015, the Conference of Parties (CP) requested the Intergovernmental Committee (IC) to submit draft operational guidelines on digital issues for its approval at its next session (June 2017). At its 9th session in December 2015, the IC was invited to launch an initial debate on the preparation of the draft operational guidelines on digital issues. A draft was adopted by the IC at its 10th meeting in December 2016 and will be submitted to the CP for its approval in June 2017.
The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity was adopted by UNESCO on November 2, 2001, following the events of September 11, 2001. This statement was an opportunity
In December 2002, the UN General Assembly declared May 21 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The purpose of this day is to deepen understanding of the values of cultural diversity to learn how to better “live together.” Every year UNESCO invites Member States and civil society to celebrate this day.
The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity is made up of twelve articles proclaiming various principles grouped under the following headings: Identity, Diversity and Pluralism; Cultural Diversity and Human Rights; Cultural Diversity and Creativity, and Cultural Diversity and International Solidarity.
The first principle addressed by the Declaration, in Article 1, asserts that cultural diversity is part of the "common heritage of humanity" and notes that “cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature." In Article 3 the Declaration states that cultural diversity is “one of the roots of development, understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence."
Whereas the Declaration addresses cultural diversity in its broadest sense, the Convention refers to a specific field of cultural diversity: the diversity of cultural expressions, defined as expressions which "result from the creativity of individuals, groups, and societies, and that have cultural content” (Article 4.3 of the Convention).
The Declaration served as the basis of the Convention, which reaffirms many of its principles including the following:
The Action Plan appended to the Declaration sets several objectives, including "deepening the international debate on […] the advisability of an international legal instrument on cultural diversity." This objective was achieved with the successful drafting of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted in October 2005.