First meeting of government experts to discuss Cultural Diversity ConventionRepresentatives of UNESCO's Member States will meet from September 20 to 25 at the Organization's Headquarters to examine the first outline of a preliminary draft of an international Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions.
This first meeting of government experts, which will bring together some 300 officials along with representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, will be opened by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura on September 20 at 9:30 am, during a session that will be open to the public* (Room II, with a closed-circuit sound system in Room IX).
Prepared by 14 independent experts from various regions and professional backgrounds, the text that will be reviewed recognizes the dual nature - cultural and economic - of cultural goods and services, and identifies measures that should be adopted by States Parties in order to ensure the promotion and protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions.
Based on principles such as human rights, freedom of expression, the equal dignity of cultures, cooperation and international solidarity, this text insists on the link between cultural diversity, dialogue and development, and affirms that the cultural aspects of development are just as important as the economic ones.
The defence of the "fruitful diversity of cultures" is part of UNESCO's mission as defined in its mandate (Constitution, Article 1). Following the adoption of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity at the 31st Session of the General Conference in November 2001, Member States wanted to examine the feasibility of drafting a binding normative instrument that would tackle the concrete threats to cultural diversity in the era of globalization and fill a gap in international law.
One or two meetings of government experts will take place in the first half of 2005, after which the Director-General will submit a preliminary report to the Member States along with a preliminary draft of the convention, with a view to examining the text at the 33rd Session of the UNESCO General Conference in October 2005.
* Journalists wishing to cover the opening session (the other sessions will be held behind closed doors) should request accreditation from the Press Relations Section. tel. 01 45 68 17 48 - fax 01 45 68 56 52