The Austrian Working Group on Cultural Diversity (ARGE) was established in 2004, during the process of drafting the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, within the Austrian Commission for UNESCO (NatCom).

The Convention was ratified by Austria on 18 December 2006 and entered into force on 18 March 2007. The Convention is binding in international law on Austrian federal, regional and local authorities and also applies to international cooperation.

As a platform for dialogue on cultural diversity, ARGE encourages the active participation of civil society and supports the exchange of information and consultation between all relevant actors and levels. The Austrian Commission for UNESCO is supporting this process of implementation of the Convention as a national contact point.

ARGE’s activities:

  • Analysis of draft texts proposed by UNESCO;
  • Information exchange and consultation on all issues related to the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity for Austria and of international interest;
  • Preparation of proposals for the opinion of the National Commission on behalf of Austria;
  • Organization of round tables, seminars and conferences, publication of studies and reports to promote the Convention and raise awareness among Austrian civil society of the importance of the diversity of cultural expressions.

ARGE members are national actors working in the cultural sector: artists and their associations, cultural professionals, experts. ARGE’s observers on cultural diversity are federal and regional representatives.

ARGE is coordinated by the Austrian Commission for UNESCO, which is also responsible for the synthesis of the organization’s work. ARGE elects a President and a Vice-President from among its members. The preparation of the written opinion on the draft texts proposed by UNESCO and of any document is carried out by an editorial team trained by ARGE.