Montreal, February 17, 2023 – From February 7 to 10, 2023, the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) participated in the 16th session of the Intergovernmental Committee at UNESCO in Paris. After an unprecedented demand by a state that a foundation whose participation had been approved by the Convention Secretariat be expelled from the work of the Convention on the basis of unsubstantiated accusations, the Federation, along with all other civil society representatives present, strongly defended the role and importance of civil society in the work of the Convention. In the two statements it delivered, civil society reiterated its confidence in the Secretariat to determine the eligibility of organizations to participate and reached out to the Parties to resolve this very troubling situation.
Although it was on February 7 that an organization was the target of a request to withdraw from the work, it was not until February 9 that the Parties adopted a decision on the matter. They confirmed that the organization would remain in the work, but with conditions, and added that for the 2024 work, the Parties should receive the list of civil society organizations accepted by the Secretariat two weeks in advance.
This decision, perceived as creating a dangerous precedent, was strongly condemned by all civil society organizations present. As early as February 8, civil society organizations had read a statement outlining significant concerns. On February 10, they issued a new statement in which they announced their withdrawal from the work of this 16th session. This statement followed the boycott by several civil society representatives of a virtual panel that was to have taken place at the opening of the day’s work.
Several states, some members of the Committee such as Norway, Denmark and Austria and others present as observers, such as Canada and France, expressed their support for civil society. The parties also asked the Secretariat to meet with civil society organizations as a gesture of good faith to invite them back to participate in the afternoon. This gesture of good faith, aimed at maintaining dialogue so that this situation could be resolved by the time of the Civil Society Forum on June 5, was accepted.
Within the Intergovernmental Committee, the IFCCD also participated in all of the meetings as well as in parallel events:
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The International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) is the voice of cultural professionals around the world. It brings together some 30 organizations representing creators, artists, independent producers, distributors, broadcasters and publishers in the book, film, television, music, performing arts and visual arts sectors.
For more information:
Marie-Julie Desrochers, Secretary General