The Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, together with the President of the General Conference and the Chairman of the Executive Board, attended the opening session of the First Intergovernmental Meeting on the preliminary draft International Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions.
In his opening address, following the President of the General Conference and the Chairman of the Executive Board, the Director-General stressed the importance for the Organization of this first negotiation phase, stating that the preliminary draft being proposed provided an excellent basis for discussion.
The Director-General went on to express the hope that this first meeting would lead to a constructive exchange of views at international level concerning the all-important matter of the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions in today?s world. The General Conference, in its infinite wisdom, had properly understood the importance of underpinning, by way of liberal measures taken in a spirit of solidarity, a movement that was a boon for humankind provided that the advantages were shared by all.
He underlined the need, in view of the considerable ramifications of this Convention, to come up with a consensus agreement for submission to the next session of the General Conference, however normal and desirable it was that there should be a debate voicing different views this opening stage of the discussions.
Professor Kader Asmal of South Africa was elected by acclamation to chair the meeting which is taking place from 20 to 25 October. It will be attended by representatives of 128 of the UNESCO Member States and about 20 NGOs. More than 500 participants have been registered.