2005 UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: a tool for the Latin American cultural sector

The International Federation of Coalitions for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is organizing a training program* in Latin America on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

*The training will be held in Spanish.

The International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD), the German Commission for UNESCO, Creatividad y Cultura Glocal, the U40 Network and the Chilean and Paraguayan Coalitions for Cultural Diversity


Artists, creators, independent producers, distributors, broadcasters and publishers in the book, film, television, music, performing and visual arts sectors, cultural professionals from the public and private sectors and civil society organizations in Latin America to participate in the Spanish language training program

“2005 UNESCO Convention for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: a tool for the Latin American cultural sector”

from 6 to 28 November 2020.

The program aims to mobilize cultural networks in Latin America and to reach people who are already doing the work of the 2005 UNESCO Convention in their local area but may not be aware of it. The aim is to give them opportunities to expand their networks at the national and regional levels, to provide a better understanding of the tools they have at their disposal to defend and promote Latin American cultural expressions and their diversity, to increase the visibility and reach of the IFCCD in Latin America, and to bring the Convention closer to professionals in the public, private or civil society sectors who are already working in or want to work in the cultural sector.


– The program is free and the number of places is limited.
– You can register online: https://bit.ly/3cPYT0W
– The deadline for receipt of applications is October 23, 2020.
– Selected participants will be notified by e-mail on October 30.


This online training consists of eight sessions in November. The duration of each session is 2 hours, for a total of 16 hours for the program. 



Video of the event “Culture: An Accelerator Under-Used?”

The partners of the #Culture2030Goal campaign are today releasing a video underlining why – and how – culture should be integrated into both short-term post-pandemic recovery strategies, and long-term development strategies. The video features highlights from the campaign’s event “Culture – An Accelerator Under-Used? Realising the Potential of Culture for Short-term and Long-term Sustainable Development” held on 13 July 2020 as part of the United Nations High Level Political Forum 2020 (HLPF2020), which brought together high-level representatives from the United Nations and its agencies, and major culture networks.



Culture: An Accelerator Under-Used?

On 20 April 2020, the partners of the #culture2030goal campaign released a Statement on Culture and the COVID-19 pandemic. Signed by eight international cultural networks, the statement is framed by our commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the need to guarantee culture is at the heart of the UN Decade of Action for the SDGs.

Entitled “Ensuring culture fulfills its potential in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic”, the statement’s preamble emphasizes:
“With the world faced with the COVID-19 pandemic today and the need to rebuild our societies tomorrow, culture should be at the heart of the response. Culture brings inspiration, comfort and hope into people’s lives. To harness this potential, the Culture 2030 Goal movement, in the context of its engagement in the United Nations 2030 Agenda, calls on UN agencies, governments and all other stakeholders to act.”

The statement is endorsed by the President of the United Nations General Assembly, His Excellency Mr Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. See the press release.

The official launch of the Statement took place on 21 May 2020 (17h00-18h00 CEST), the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The date illustrates the commitment of the campaign to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the need to ensure that culture is at the heart of the UN Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals. Check out the concept note of the meeting for more information.

The Statement will be the object of an event entitled “Culture – An Accelerator Under-Used? Realising the Potential of Culture for Short-term and Long-term Sustainable Development” and organised in the context of the United Nations High Level Political Forum 2020 (HLPF2020) on next 13 July 2020. 


Support for the cultural sector is growing around the world… unevenly

We quickly realized that the cultural sector was going to suffer enormously from the Covid-19 pandemic. A multitude of shows, performances, festivals, film shoots, book fairs and other cultural events were cancelled, and many cultural spaces, bookstores, cinemas and museums closed their doors.

All over the world, initiatives from artists, civil society organizations, funding agencies and businesses have emerged, followed in several countries by announcements of support for the cultural sector.

The IFCCD initially hesitated to take stock of these initiatives, as others have begun work and the situation is evolving rapidly. The IFCCD is doing so today primarily to support its members who want their governments to put in place measures to support artists, creators, professionals and organizations in the cultural sector. The analysis is therefore limited to countries where the IFCCD has members or partners.

While not perfect, this brief overview shows that support measures are rare outside of the world’s richest countries. In some countries there are even declines. This is a situation of great concern for the diversity of cultural expressions, both locally and internationally, and it risks further deepening global inequalities in the circulation of cultural goods and services. In many countries, cultural policies were already weak or even absent. Greater reliance may need to be placed on solidarity and community networks to provide some support to the cultural sector in these countries, but also on the role that organizations such as UNESCO can and should play internationally.


Culture in times of pandemic: a remedy that needs to be taken care of

On April 22, UNESCO organized the first virtual meeting of Ministers of Culture. The meeting lasted more than seven hours and gave the floor to 130 ministers from all continents. The IFCCD team attended the meeting and was thus able to improve its monitoring of measures in support of the cultural sector, but also to identify a number of global issues and opportunities for culture in times of pandemic.

  1. Recognition of the importance of culture

Most ministers stressed the invaluable contribution of culture in helping people through the crisis. Several of them illustrated the social function of culture or associated culture with a right:

  • Culture and art are powerful tools of struggle that can help us overcome the common challenge (Jordan)
  • The right to culture is not a luxury, it is a pillar for our economies and for the achievement of sustainable development goals (Germany)
  • We experiment therapy through art, book, smile (Armenia)
  • Culture is the foundation of society (Netherlands)
  • Culture is a process of humanization, with a restorative power. The pandemic is frightening, culture will be able to save us, while waiting for a vaccine (Argentina)
  • Culture is a means of communication and protection against stress. Cross-cutting public policies are needed to make culture a human right (Panama)
  • Culture is a form of resistance (Bahrain)
  • Culture is a common good, a right for citizens. It has a role of social cohesion. The crisis shows that culture can be a lifeline. Its contribution to physical and mental well-being must be recognized (Spain)

Several ministers stressed the contribution of culture to sustainable development and even to the objectives for 2030 (Greece, Lebanon, Spain, Costa Rica, Germany), while others, such as Cuba and Azerbaijan, see this crisis as an opportunity for the revival of artistic creation and a broad extension of artistic and cultural practices in society through digital dissemination and communication.

  1. An important mobilization for culture

Despite the inequalities between the various countries, support for the cultural sector is very significant. The measures most often used are the adjustment of contributions and dues, deferral of obligations (social security contributions, taxes), the granting of wage subsidies and loans, the conduct of surveys and impact analyses, the establishment of emergency funds and even food assistance.

Mali sees in the current crisis, despite its disastrous consequences, an opportunity to align the cultural policies of African countries with the objectives of the Charter for the Cultural Renaissance of Africa: “any African cultural policy must necessarily enable peoples to flourish in order to assume greater responsibility for their own development”. Other countries, such as Jamaica, are trying to encourage the transition of their informal economy to the formal economy, which would better protect artists and creators. Elsewhere, cultural sponsorship appears to be a realistic source of income for the cultural sector.

Among the many measures enumerated by Peru, some are targeted at indigenous peoples, particularly in the Amazon, to isolate them from the pandemic while giving them access to culture. The recommendations produced had been translated into 20 languages, a measure similar to that implemented in Mexico, where health manuals had been translated into 60 languages.

Large parts of the cultural sector, particularly heritage sites, festivals and museums, depend on tourism, which has a major impact on attendance and attendance. If the crisis is affecting the cultural sector even in countries where there are no reported cases, such as Lesotho or the Cook Islands, it is because tourism has been completely devastated by the pandemic. Indeed, several ministers placed more emphasis on this sector than on the cultural sector. Some countries want to focus on domestic tourism, but not everyone can do that. Others, such as Kazakhstan, where the national tourism agency organizes virtual tours of the country, are relying on digital technology to remain an attractive destination.

  1. Towards an explosion of platforms and online offerings?

It seems that in all regions of the world, dozens of platforms are being created with the support of governments and public institutions. Many measures have been put in place to provide virtual access to museums, libraries, heritage sites and galleries, while other platforms provide access to cultural expressions.

In Azerbaijan, for example, the measures adopted have made it possible to redirect 80% of cultural activities towards the Internet, including dissemination on social media. After the crisis, one of the challenges will be to ensure that culture is not confined to the virtual sphere. For the Minister of Bahrain, the opportunity must be seized to promote virtual reality, archaeological discoveries, access to intangible heritage and online music.

  1. The pandemic is likely to increase global inequalities

Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, stressed this at the very beginning of the meeting: inequalities, which are already significant, are likely to increase even further as a result of the pandemic.

The minister from Dominica said her country is barely recovering from the consequences of Hurricane Maria, which caused a 226% drop in GDP. Other countries, such as Mozambique, which was hit by two cyclones last year, or Lesotho, would like to develop an online content offer that respects copyright, but would need help from international partners.

The vital need to accelerate the digital transition highlights digital divides that will aggravate inequalities between countries, but also within territories. The Chilean minister pointed out that several communities in her country do not have access to the Internet and this is the case in many countries. Several other countries reported a lack of training and technical skills and the difficulties encountered by more vulnerable groups (migrants, indigenous people, women).

  1. A call for international cooperation

Many countries have called for substantial international support. The Sudanese minister explained that developing countries already allocate few resources to culture in normal times. Currently, the fight against the virus is taking up all the space. The Chadian minister referred to the “competition of emergencies” in his country which, like others in the Sahel, is caught up in the problems of terrorism.

There were fewer responses. Germany stands out for the development of partnerships in Africa and the Middle East for cultural projects and the development of digital platforms by the Goethe Institute. His Minister added that no country faced the challenges alone and that these approaches were a source of learning for them. For his part, the Minister of San Marino proposed that cooperation between states be made more concrete by encouraging the circulation of works of art.

  1. A call to make Web giants pay

In her introduction, Audrey Azoulay suggested integrating platforms that disseminate cultural expressions via the Internet into cultural policies and funding mechanisms. However, relatively few ministers referred to this type of measure.

The ministers of Canada and Quebec were the only ones to make this call so clearly. The Canadian minister wants to adopt measures to ensure that all players contribute to national cultural ecosystems. The Quebec minister wants multinational companies to contribute to the system, particularly by promoting the discoverability of content, and for creators to reap a better share of the benefits.

Ministers from Lebanon and Belgium stressed the importance of intellectual property rights and fair remuneration of artists on online platforms.

  1. What role for UNESCO?

The Algerian minister stressed that culture has become one of the rare areas of collaboration between States and that UNESCO’s role is to foster exchanges, set up international mutual assistance mechanisms and develop digital platforms to promote access to heritage and culture.

The Minister of the United Arab Emirates, for her part, proposed that UNESCO develop a model for the protection of intellectual property in the context of the digital transition.

Finally, others called on UNESCO to document the impacts of Covid-19 on culture.

What prospects for the diversity of cultural expressions?

Very important issues were raised during this long meeting and UNESCO’s efforts to support a global space for exchange and reflection are to be applauded.  The ResiliArt initiative is very relevant in this regard and the IFCCD is very pleased to collaborate with UNESCO in organizing a second debate on May 14.

This discussion highlights at least two urgent needs to support a revival of cultural activities that is sustainable, more equitable and ensures a diversity of expressions. First, that of rethinking cultural cooperation at a time when the health crisis is putting pressure on already scarce resources in this field and when restrictions on mobility could last for a long time. Secondly, that of guaranteeing the contribution of the giants of the Web to cultural ecosystems in order to generate new sources of income and enhance local cultural expressions.

Ensuring culture fulfills its potential in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic

With the world faced with the COVID-19 pandemic today and the need to rebuild our societies tomorrow, culture should be at the heart of the response. Culture brings inspiration, comfort and hope into people’s lives. To harness this potential, the Culture 2030 Goal movement, in the context of its engagement in the United Nations 2030 Agenda, calls on UN agencies, governments and all other stakeholders to act.


Addressing the major challenges for the diversity of cultural expressions

The fourth panel of the Regional Conference “Pan-African Perspectives for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” (October 9 and 10, 2019) focused on the current and future challenges for the diversity of cultural expressions. It brought together Samuel Sangwa (CISAC), Ivana Otasevic (UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions), Edith Katiji (Zimbabwe Musicians’ Union), Luc Yatchokeu (REPAC).

He first recalled the role of copyright collecting societies in remunerating and recognizing creators, and then presented CISAC and its work in Africa. With 37 copyright societies in 31 countries, CISAC is present throughout the continent, from Algeria to South Africa and Togo. CISAC produces an annual global collection report each year. In 2017, out of €9 billion raised worldwide, Africa’s share was only 75 million, or 0.8% of the total. Samuel Sangwa deplored the fact that African creators are not remunerated at the level of the exploitation of their works. He listed the major challenges to the growth of clinics in Africa:

  1. The resistance of users: lack of knowledge of copyright, deliberate refusal of the principle of payment of the fee;
  2. The operational efficiency of collective management organizations: licensing of users, territorial networking, management of digital exploitation rights;
  3. The obsolete, inadequate or inadequate legislative frameworks.

He also pointed out that only eight African countries are now able to collect the private copying levy. Samuel Sangwa then listed the challenges and priority campaigns for CISAC:

  1. The transfer of value on platforms;
  2. The resale right for creators of artistic works (visual arts and crafts);
  3. The right to fair remuneration for authors of audiovisual works

He presented the “Copyright Friendly” label, launched in Cape Verde, which can be awarded to festivals, organizations and events that respect copyright. Finally, he argued that the notion of copyright has always been part of African culture and called for respect for the rights of creators, in Africa as elsewhere in the world.

Presentation by Mr Sangwa (in French)

  • In a second presentation, Ivana Otasevic, coordinator of the UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, presented the Guide on Cultural Clauses in Trade Agreements, by Véronique Guèvremont (Chairholder) and Ivan Bernier (Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Law of Laval University).

The Chair’s guide meets several objectives:

  1. Raise awareness among States about the possible implications of trade negotiations for the culture sector;
  2. Assist States in developing their capacities so that they can choose the appropriate cultural clauses to preserve their sovereign right to intervene in favour of culture;
  3. Present the best practices that have been developed by some States over the past 15 years;
  4. Inspire new initiatives to protect and promote cultural diversity in trade agreements (particularly in the area of digital trade).

This guide offers an approach inspired by State practice. It is based on a comparative study of 99 free trade agreements concluded since the adoption of the 2005 Convention. The Chair identified the most relevant cultural clauses in these agreements and made recommendations. The guide is structured in four steps. First, it invites States (and civil society organizations that use the guide to lobby their States) to become familiar with their own cultural sector, to understand the mechanisms of free trade and their potential impact on the cultural sector, and to develop a knowledge of existing cultural clauses and trade instruments. In a second step, the guide makes recommendations concerning the preparation for the negotiation of a new trade agreement containing cultural clauses. Thirdly, it gives indications on the main chapters of the agreement for the incorporation of cultural clauses. It highlights the importance of defining exactly what we want to protect and paying particular attention to electronic commerce. The last step of the guide concerns the monitoring of the negotiated free trade agreement and the implementation of cultural clauses.

Presentation by Mrs Otasevic (in French)

  • Édith Katiji, President of the Zimbabwe Musicians’ Union, then addressed a third major challenge for the diversity of cultural expressions: that of women’s participation and conditions in the cultural sector.

Three main things affect women in the cultural spheres:

  1. The defined, imposed and expected roles of women;
  2. A work environment that is often dangerous for them;
  3. Their exclusion from participation in the cultural economy.

Édith Katiji was a member of an all-women music group that performed throughout Zimbabwe. She noted many prejudices about their performance. Some expected them to play one type of music and not another, reserved for men, others had similar expectations regarding the lyrics. There were also prejudices related to their presence on stage, many expected them to dance in a way that was considered “feminine”.

Edith Katiji then referred to the many cases of women facing all kinds of abuse – emotional, physical, sexual – in the workplace. She deplored cases of discrimination, sexist attitudes and general contempt that discourage women from continuing to work in the cultural sector. Women are easily victims of sexist behaviour and even sexual exploitation. Sexual favours may be required from artists in exchange for a promotion or exhibition of their work. The cultural and creative industries are most often led by men and most decisions are therefore made exclusively by them. This creates a situation where women are excluded from any advantageous decisions.

Moreover, much of the exclusion of women does not occur in the open. Men may decide that female interpreters have no place in a particular event. In other cases, they consider that the type of audience expected is not suitable for a female performer. Some male promoters may also consider that the type of music played by a woman is unsuitable for certain audiences. Faced with these obstacles, women often turn to private organizations to perform. But there is little public attention paid to private events and women are therefore most often excluded from the media space. Without this media coverage, they are less visible and earn less. Some use social media to promote themselves, but this does not have the same impact because traditional media are still dominant on the continent (in Zimbabwe, radio is the first broadcasting channel).

Edith Katiji concluded her presentation by calling on African societies to review their history and consider how to achieve gender balance in the cultural sector and in all spheres of society.

Presentation by Mrs Katiji

  • Luc Yatchokeu, coordinator of the Regroupement des Professionnels des Arts et Culture d’Afrique Centrale (REPAC), presented the Art Connect Africa project.

A platform for cultural cooperation and exchange, Art Connect Africa (www.artconnectafrica.com) was designed to encourage and develop cultural relations between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. At the origin of the project, there is a desire on the part of cultural actors in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa to get closer and strengthen exchanges between the two regions. Cultural actors are concerned to present through the arts a united Africa, which a few years ago appeared as two different continents.

The platform brings together several different actors: artists, professionals, festivals, professional organizations, places of cultural expression, media, cultural institutions. It concerns all artistic disciplines: music, performing arts, visual arts, sculpture, literature, cinema, architecture. Luc Yatchokeu reviewed how the project was developed with, on the one hand, the creation of a digital platform (website and application), and, on the other hand, the establishment and animation of a pan-African programme to support cooperation and exchange initiatives.

The expected results are diverse: building an artistic community, sharing information on ongoing collaborations and opportunities, supporting projects, producing statistics, strengthening cooperation and exchanges, exploring new markets.

Presentation by Mr Yatchokeu (in French)


With the support of the International Organisation of La Francophonie, the Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA), the Togolese Coalition for Cultural Diversity, the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity, the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (Canada), the Austrian Coalition for Cultural Diversity, the Government of Togo, the Government of Canada, the Government of Quebec, the National Commission of the Francophonie in Togo.



Open letter to President Sebastián Piñera

Open letter from cultural workers, artists and organizations in the sector in Chile grouped in Artistic and Cultural Cabildo (forum).

As cultural organizations, we reject and condemn the repeated human rights violations committed by State agents, which have affected the community that expresses itself in a legitimate and authentic way. Unfortunately, among the thousands of people affected, there are several artists and cultural workers.

Since Friday, October 18, we have seen an unexplainable number of human rights violations increase day by day during social demonstrations, in a country that is democratic. To date, the National Institute of Human Rights (Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos) has recorded 964 gunshot wounds, 222 eye injuries, 384 court cases, including 273 for torture, 66 for sexual violence and 6 for murder, among other very serious crimes committed by State agents. Citizens have witnessed countless excesses and abuses in the use of force during the mobilizations.

Faced with this, we can only wonder what kind of police officers we have who can go so far as to attack their own fellow citizens? What can justify the use of torture? What is being taught to Carabineros (riflemen – Chilean military police institution) so they proceed with those absolutely unjustified beatings of children, adolescents and older adults?

In whose hands are we? Nothing in what we have seen is pointing to cases of individual excesses, but rather to a coordinated action on the part of law enforcement authorities. 

In response to these serious facts, the organizations that convened the Artistic and Cultural Cabildo, and by mandate of the latter, demand the immediate cessation of human rights violations by the Carabineros and a structural reform of this institution that seems to have normalized violence. We demand the resignation of General Mario Rozas, who is directly responsible for these facts and who has not acknowledged the evidence that Chile and the world have unfortunately witnessed: human rights are being violated in our country.

Artists and cultural workers have been and will always be concerned about the defence of human rights, and this time we will continue to demand, by all means at our disposal, that they be respected.


Cabildo’s organizers : Sindicato de Actores, SIDARTE / Unión Nacional de Artistas, UNA / RED Nacional DanzaSur / Asociación Nacional de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras del Ministerio de las Culturas, las Artes y el Patrimonio, AFUCAP / Arte Asociado Contemporáneo, ACA / Asociación de Cantantes Líricos de Chile, ACLICH / Asociación Nacional de Diseñadores Escénicas / ADTRES / Asociación Nacional de trabajadores del Patrimonio / ANATRAP / Coalición Chilena para la Diversidad Cultural / Sindicato del Cine, SINTECI / El Circo del Mundo