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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

Entry into force of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Entry into force of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On Friday 23 March 2007, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, organized an information meeting with permanent delegates to the Organization following the entry into force of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

During this meeting he also presented the broad outline of the calendar envisaged for the implementation of the Convention, and underlined the importance of the issues that will be discussed within its various organs.

Mr Matsuura opened the session by sharing “the object of great satisfaction for me and for UNESCO, as well as for the entire international community,” which represents the entry into force of this Convention last 18 March. “In fact,” he declared, “only fourteen months passed between its adoption by UNESCO’s General Conference at its 33rd session in October 2005, and the signing of thirty ratifications necessary for its entry into force, last 18 December. I believe it is an absolute record in terms of a normative instrument in the cultural domain. Another first achievement was the membership of the European Community as a regional organization of economic integration, which was allowed thanks to certain provisions of the Convention.”

Noting however that the geographical distribution of the States Parties remains “very unbalanced,” Mr Matsuura expressed his wish “that all the regions in the world be represented in a well-balanced manner,” in order to ensure “an efficient implementation of the objectives of cooperation and solidarity set out by the Convention.” He welcomed the commitment of the States that have already ratified the Convention and invited those from the weakly represented regions to do the same as quickly as possible.

The Director-General expressed his satisfaction for the fact that the international community now disposes of a complete normative platform in the cultural domain, particularly with three instruments that constitute the basis for the preservation and promotion of the cultural diversity: the Convention on the World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted in 1972, the Intangible Heritage Convention adopted in 2003, and the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted in 2005. “These texts represent the reflexive, ethical and strategic framework adopted by UNESCO’s member States. They constitute the foundations of the policies allowing for the recognition of cultural diversity, considered as “common heritage of humanity” by the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions diverges itself from the conventions dedicated to safeguarding heritage through the fact that it is, above all, dedicated to the circulation of cultural activities, goods and services, which are privileged contemporary tools for the diffusion of culture,” he declared.

Mr Matsuura then exposed the broad outline of the calendar envisaged for the implementation of the Convention. He confirmed that the sovereign organ of the Convention, the Conference of Parties, which meets in ordinary session every two years, will convene their first meeting from 18 to 20 June 2007 at UNESCO Headquarters. The agenda of this first meeting will be extensive: in particular, it must elect the 24 members of the Intergovernmental Committee. The Conference shall also mandate the Intergovernmental Committee in view of the preparation of the operational directives necessary for the implementation of the Convention. It shall create the International Fund for Cultural Diversity, to which the contributions are voluntary.

“The tasks and responsibilities of the Intergovernmental Committee will be numerous and important. It shall elaborate the operational directives so that the spirit and the letter of the Convention’s text take real effect. The Committee will plunge into a vast reflection process, “’where a lot must be invented’, to reiterate a comment that many of you have already formulated,” added the Director-General.

In conclusion, Mr Matsuura specified that the Section for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, directed by Mrs Galia Saouma-Forero, within the Division of Cultural Expressions and Creative Industries of the Culture Sector, will ensure the secretariat of the Convention. He also announced that an Internet site dedicated to this convention was created at the occasion of its entry into force. Located within the site of UNESCO’s Culture Sector, this site will be permanently updated to allow the international community to be informed of the Convention’s day by day evolution.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 044-2007
  • 23-03-2007
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