As of 8 November, 16 States* have ratified the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in October 2005. It will enter into force three months after the deposit of the 30th instrument of ratification. The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, welcomed the “particularly rapid” rate of the Convention’s ratification: “No other UNESCO Convention concerning culture has been ratified by so many States in such a short time,” he said upon receiving the 16th instrument of ratification, deposited by Senegal.
The result of a long process of maturation and two years of intense negotiations, marked by numerous meetings of independent and then governmental experts, the text seeks to reaffirm the links between culture, development and dialogue and to create an innovative platform for international cultural cooperation. To this end, it reaffirms the sovereign right of States to elaborate cultural policies with a view both “to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions” and “to create the conditions for cultures to flourish and to freely interact in a mutually beneficial manner” (Article 1).
It also highlights “the importance of intellectual property rights in sustaining those involved in cultural creativity” and reaffirms that “freedom of thought, expression and information, as well as diversity of the media, enable cultural expressions to flourish within societies.”
With the adoption of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, UNESCO now disposes of a range of standard setting instruments that cover the field of culture fully and on which the Organization can base its strategy to defend cultural diversity in all its aspects, and, more specifically, the two pillars of culture: heritage and contemporary creation. Three Conventions – concerning world heritage (1972), intangible heritage (2003), and the diversity of cultural expressions (2005) – provide UNESCO with a framework of action in favour of the defence of cultural diversity.
*Belarus, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Canada, Croatia, Djibouti, Guatemala, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Peru, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Senegal and Togo.
Full text of the convention