Civil Society Forum and Eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the 2005 Convention

The IFCCD is participating in the Civil Society Forum and the Eighth Session of the Conference of Parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which is being held online from May 31 to June 4, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on cultural and creative industries. Around the world, containment measures have significantly impacted the livelihoods of artists and cultural professionals while reducing cultural production and access to a diverse range of cultural expressions. In this context and that of the International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, declared by the United Nations General Assembly, the Committee will address major issues of the Convention that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront: the status of artists and cultural professionals, the protection of the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital environment or the preferential treatment of cultural goods and services.


Beat Santschi (Swiss Coalition, IFCCD President), Bill Skolnik (Canadian Coalition), Mane Nett (Chilean Coalition, IFCCD Vice President for the Americas), Helena Vasques de Carvalho (Portuguese Coalition), Luanda Smith (Creatividad y Cultura Glocal, Mexico), Mahamadou Adamou (Nigerian Coalition), Laure Gicquel (French Coalition), Hiroko Tsuboi-Friedman (IFCCD Member-at-Large), Klara Kostal (Austrian Coalition), Momo Diakité (Malian Coalition), Nathalie Guay (IFCCD Secretary General).



Video of the conference “The Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Latin America: Current and Future Challenges”

On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the Federation organized on October 20 an online conference on the current and future challenges for the diversity of cultural expressions in Latin America.

This conference was held within the framework of ResiliArt, a global movement initiated by UNESCO to strengthen the resilience of artists & cultural professionals in the face of the enormous challenges posed by the current health crisis.

Watch the video

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. 



The Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Latin America: Current and Future Challenges

The IFCCD is organizing a regional virtual conference* on October 20 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm (UTC-3) on current and future challenges for the diversity of cultural expressions in Latin America. 

This conference is organized within the framework of ResiliArt, a global movement initiated by UNESCO, which aims to strengthen the resilience of artists and cultural professionals in the face of the enormous challenges posed by the current health crisis.

*The conference will be held in Spanish.

The IFCCD wishes to take advantage of the 15th anniversary of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Day of Cultural Diversity in Chile to raise awareness, inform and mobilize Latin American civil society around the Convention.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on Latin American cultural environment. The containment measures related to the pandemic have severely limited capacities for the creation, production and distribution of cultural expressions in the region. Today, some Latin American countries continue to face a very unstable health situation, while others are beginning a recovery process that promises to be long and difficult for the creative community. The crisis has exacerbated inequalities in access to cultural goods and services. It has considerably weakened the professional, social and economic situation of many artists and cultural professionals and has seriously affected the already fragile cultural ecosystems of the countries in the region. The crisis has also led to abuses and violations of cultural rights. It has finally created a very paradoxical situation: while creators and professionals in the sector have found themselves in a dramatic economic situation, the giants of the Web have made huge profits from the dissemination of cultural content online.

The objective of the conference is to present the 2005 Convention, its clauses, principles, its relevance in the current context of crisis and the means to use it to meet the challenges faced by cultural organizations in the region. The conference is aimed at artists, creators, cultural professionals and civil society organizations and should enable them to learn more about the tools available to them to defend and promote Latin American cultural expressions. It also aims to stimulate mobilization at the local and regional level, within the framework of existing networks such as the IFCCD, through the formation of national coalitions.


Protecting culture in trade agreements

The International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) produced a series of videos on the protection of culture in trade agreements.

The videos cover the history of cultural protection in free trade agreements, the challenge of the national treatment clause, the content and scope of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the role of civil society and the issue of digital trade. These short videos (between 2 and 7 minutes each) are based on longer interviews with three experts on these issues:

  • Solange Drouin, Co-Chair of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Vice-President, Public Affairs, and Chief Executive of ADISQ,
  • Véronique Guèvremont, Professor at the Faculty of Law of Université Laval, Quebec (Canada), and holder of the UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions,
  • Peter Grant, Senior Counsel and past Chair of the Technology, Communications and Intellectual Property Group at McCarthy Tétrault.


National Treatment Clause

The 2005 UNESCO Convention

The role of civil society

The challenge of digital trade


See long versions






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.


Culture in the implementation of the 2030 agenda

Four years after the adoption of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, a new report, coordinated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), with the support of various organizations, including the IFCCD, reviews progress made in ensuring the place of culture at the heart of development policies.

Through a comprehensive analysis of Voluntary National Reviews (of countries) and Voluntary Local Reviews (of cities), it highlights great examples of governments that give culture the attention it deserves.

Yet it underlines that the challenge now is to generalize this good practice. To this end, the report makes a number of recommendations both to the culture sector itself, and to Member States. At the head will be a revitalized campaign – #culture2030goal. Watch this space!


Read the article “Cultural policies for sustainable development: four strategic paths”

World Day for Cultural Diversity

Each year on 21 May, World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development celebrates the richness of the world’s cultures and the essential role of intercultural dialogue.

Cultural diversity is a driving force for development, a means of leading a satisfying intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. It is necessary for the development of individuals.

The United Nations General Assembly first declared this World Day in 2002, following UNESCO’s adoption of the 2001 Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, recognizing the need to “enhance the potential of culture as a means of achieving prosperity, sustainable development and global peaceful coexistence.”

“The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is an occasion to promote culture and highlight the significance of its diversity as an agent of inclusion and positive change. It represents an opportunity to celebrate culture’s manifold forms, from the tangible and intangible, to creative industries, to the diversity of cultural expressions, and to reflect on how these contribute to dialogue, mutual understanding, and the social, environmental and economic vectors of sustainable development.”

Source: UNESCO

IFCCD 2019 Report on Civil Society Activities

IFCCD members actively participated in the preparation of the report of civil society organizations, submitted in December 2017. On occasion, a questionnaire collected contributions from about 70 civil society organizations in the fall of 2017.

Barely a year later, the IFCCD considers that this report is still relevant. Moreover, since the IFCCD adopted an ambitious action plan at the Montreal Congress in October 2018, and given the tight deadlines for the production of the 2019 report, this report is intended to complement the 2017 report and to complement rather than replace the recommendations already made.

It should also be noted that to date, there has been no formal response to the thirteen key recommendations of the first report. Nor is there a process in place for feedback from the parties, which we will discuss later.

In this IFCCD report, we will focus on topics that were not specifically recommended in the 2017 report. We will also revisit the recommendations of the 2017 report on topics that are priorities for the IFCCD and its members.


Culture, platforms and machines: the impact of artificial intelligence on the diversity of cultural expressions

Report by Mr Kulesz for the 12th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Artificial intelligence (AI) can help to empower numerous creators, make the cultural industries more efficient and increase the number of artworks, which is in the interest of the public.

However, there are still very few artists and entrepreneurs that know how to use tools such as machine learning. In addition, the commercial logic of the large platforms may lead to increasing concentration of supply, data and income and to the impoverishment of cultural expressions in the long term.

In a tech world dominated by the United States and China –and to a lesser extent by Europe, Israel, Canada, Japan and the Republic of Korea –there is a risk of fomenting a new creative divide, which would result in the increasing decline of developing countries.

The lack of inclusion of culture in national AI strategies –in both the North and South –could mean that countries no longer have any cultural expressions of their own, which would end up damaging the social fabric.

It will be essential to develop strategies that go beyond a merely abstract code of ethics and design public policies to ensure that AI systems –and the actors that exploit them –are auditable and accountable.

Far from settling for a marginal role in the discussions on AI, the creative sector must claim its place with greater vigour.


5th Congress of the IFCCD

The International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) met in Montreal for its fifth international congress on October 26 and 27, 2018.

Founded on 19 September 2007 in Seville, Spain, the IFCCD is the voice of cultural professionals around the world. Its member coalitions represent creators, artists, independent producers, distributors, broadcasters and publishers in the book, film, television, music, performing arts and visual arts sectors.

Since its foundation in Seville, the Federation has held its international congress in Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) in 2009, Bratislava (Slovakia) in 2012, Mons (Belgium) in 2015. This year, Canada hosted the event, which brought together eighteen delegates on site and four remotely. Nineteen countries were represented: Cameroon, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Uganda, Senegal, Chad, Togo (Africa), Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay (Americas), Australia (Asia-Pacific), Belgium, France, Slovakia, Switzerland (Europe), Uganda and United Kingdom.

What to remember from the Montreal Congress

The IFCCD had experienced a slowdown in its activity since the Mons Congress in 2015, its secretariat having been vacant for almost two years. Organized to relaunch the IFCCD’s work, the Montreal Congress provided many avenues for reflection and work for the coming years.

During the first day, IFCCD members discussed the composition of the organization, its means of action, the possibilities of supporting national coalitions and their necessary re-mobilization at the regional level around targeted actions. They also expressed their wish to rebuild the relationship with the UNESCO Secretariat and to get involved in the activities surrounding the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

During a round table discussion, everyone presented the challenges of cultural diversity in their country, developments since the ratification of the UNESCO Convention, progress, obstacles and the current situation of each coalition.

South America, which was particularly mobilized at the time of the adoption of the Convention, has experienced political changes that have marked the cultural sector and weakened the coalitions that have been in place in recent years. The lack of resources complicates coordination between civil society organizations in the field of culture. Nevertheless, IFCCD members are taking every opportunity to participate in legislative reviews or to establish, as in Chile, a national day for cultural diversity.

In Africa, the situation is also very much linked to the political context of each country. For many, the challenge is to depoliticize culture. There is a lack of resources in the region but also a problem with the management of funds, which are not always allocated properly. The discussions also revealed that the Convention is largely unknown in most countries and that governments must be made aware of the importance of cultural exemption clauses in trade treaties.

The situation in Asia-Pacific, which was poorly represented at this congress, made it possible to present the problems related to authoritarian regimes and the issues of freedom of expression that affect many artists. The territorial and linguistic challenge makes joint action difficult, but several organizations maintain a certain dynamism and activity in their countries.

In Europe, the focus is on strengthening national coalitions for better networking. As in Canada, the development of digital technology and its impact on culture are at the heart of general concerns. Coalitions are also mobilizing to recognize the specificity of cultural goods and services in trade agreements.

A dialogue with representatives of the governments of Quebec and Canada

The congress continued in the presence of representatives of the Canadian and Quebec governments, who came to meet the members of the IFCCD.

The Government of Quebec has identified three main priorities regarding the diversity of cultural expressions: the implementation of the UNESCO Convention in the digital context, the challenges of international trade, and international cooperation, in particular through UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD).

The presence of Canadian government officials opened a discussion on maintaining the cultural exemption in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement. The France-Canada declaration on cultural diversity and the digital space was also mentioned.

The exchange highlighted that government support for the CDCE and the work of the IFCCD is valuable and extremely beneficial for all organizations around the world, and should be an example to be followed in other countries.

Finally, this exchange was also an opportunity to discuss the mobility of artists and the means to be implemented to improve their circulation.

Working with the research community

Researchers were invited to join delegates to provide input on the second day of the conference. Véronique Guèvremont, of the UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, presented the Study on International Cooperation with French-speaking African Countries for the Implementation of the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the Digital Environment, commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and Communications of Quebec and conducted in five African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal.

Destiny Tchéhouali, a researcher at the Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM – Université du Québec à Montréal) then discussed his work with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, in relation to international Internet governance and the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital age.

The discussion continued on the importance of collaboration with researchers, in particular on information sharing (statistical data, national reports) and the bridges to be built between the IFCCD and the various UNESCO Chairs, the academic community and networks such as the International Network of Jurists for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The IFCCD members then summarized their priorities and defined several working areas and projects for the year 2018-2019.

The Congress ended with the election of the Board of Directors, which maintained the current bodies to better prepare for the future. The next IFCCD Congress will be held in an African country in the fall of 2019.

Study on International Cooperation with French-Speaking African Countries

Study on international cooperation with French-speaking African countries for the implementation of the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the Digital Environment

This study carried out by the UNESCO Chair on the diversity of cultural expressions is the result of collective work. Six students associated with the Chair conducted extensive research on the five countries covered by the study: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal. This research was conducted under the direction of Véronique Guèvremont (Professor at the Faculty of Law, Université Laval and Chairholder) and Ivana Otašević (Doctoral student at the Faculty of Law, Université Laval and Associate Director of the Chair). It was complemented by around 40 interviews with African experts or experts with in-depth knowledge of the African cultural context.

As stated in Quebec’s Digital Cultural Plan, the objectives of this study are as follows:

  • contribute to reflection on the challenges of international cooperation related to digital technology; document the impact of digital technologies on the diversity of cultural expressions, particularly in countries of the South,
  • stimulate reflection on the digital divide in the countries of the African French-speaking region and to define priorities for action with a view to development cooperation,
  • respond favourably to Quebec’s commitments in terms of development cooperation, which are included in Article 14 of the 2005 Convention9

Following discussions with the Ministère dela Culture et des Communications du Québecand the Ministèredes Relations internationales et de la Francophonie, it was agreed that the study would focus on five French-speaking African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal.

The following study is divided into three parts. As a first step, it presents an overview of the situation in the five countries covered and identifies the main constraints or obstacles they have encountered in implementing the 2005 Convention in the digital environment (Part I). Second, it lists35 examples of innovative cultural cooperation projects based on the use of digital technologies involving, on the one hand,developed countries and, on the other,at least one of the five countries concerned, or other countries on the African continent (Part II). Finally, this study makes ten recommendations to guide the actions of the Government of Quebec,but also of other Parties to the 2005 Convention, with regard to international cultural cooperation in the context of the implementation of the 2005 Convention in the digital environment (Part III).


Operational guidelines on the implementation of the Convention in the digital environment

Operational guidelines on the implementation of the Convention in the digital environment approved by the Conference of Parties at its sixth session (Paris, 12-15 June 2017)

These guidelines provide a strategic framework for understanding, interpreting and implementing the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in a digital environment where cultural goods and services are created, produced, distributed, disseminated, consumed and/or stored electronically.

The distinctive nature of cultural activities, goods and services as vehicles of identity, values and meaning does not change in the digital environment. Consequently, the recognition of the dual nature of cultural goods and services (cultural and economic) is also applicable to cultural expressions in the digital environment or those produced with digital tools.

The accelerated expansion of social networks and user generated content (UGC), the explosion of data, the complexity of distribution models, and the proliferation of connected multimedia devices in the hands of the users have had a huge impact on the creative sector in all parts of the world. Technological changes have also led to the emergence of new players and new logics, and will continue to provide new challenges and opportunities to promote the diversity of cultural expressions and, in particular, to design relevant public policies.

Recalling that technological neutrality is affirmed as a principle in the Convention, these guidelines shall be interpreted and applied in relation to the Convention as a whole, thus promoting a transversal approach to the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital environment. They complement all relevant provisions of the Convention and existing guidelines that refer to digital issues and new information and communication technologies.


Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions entered into force on 18 March 2007

The Convention

  • Recognizes the specific nature of cultural goods and services as carriers of identity, values and meaning;
  • Reaffirms the sovereign right of States to develop cultural policies, while ensuring the free flow of ideas and works;
  • Redefines new modalities for international cooperation, the cornerstone of the Convention;
  • Aims to create the conditions for cultures to flourish and interact freely in ways that enrich each other;
  • Gives a major role to civil society in the implementation of the Convention.

States Parties that have ratified the Convention

  • Strive, on the one hand, to foster and promote the creation, production, dissemination and distribution of cultural expressions and, on the other hand, to guarantee access for their citizens to the various cultural expressions of their territory as well as those of other countries of the world;
  • Recognize the fundamental role of civil society in encouraging its active participation in the efforts of Parties to achieve the objectives of the Convention (Article 11);
    Respect their commitment and act consistently when signing new free trade agreements (Articles 20 and 21);
  • Ensure information sharing and transparency by providing, in their reports to UNESCO, appropriate information on measures taken to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions;
  • Promote public understanding of the importance of the diversity of cultural expressions through education and awareness-raising programmes;
  • Integrate culture into sustainable development and strengthen international cooperation for developing countries through several means, for example: strengthening their cultural industries, strengthening their capacities in the development and implementation of cultural policies, technology transfer, financial support, and preferential treatment of their artists and other cultural professionals as well as their cultural goods and services.

The Convention’s monitoring bodies

  • The Conference of Parties, composed of the signatory States, is the sovereign and plenary body of the Convention. States are required to meet every two years. In June 2007, the Conference of the Parties took place for the first time in Paris after the entry into force of the Convention on 18 March 2007. This Conference made it possible, in particular, to appoint the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention composed of 24 delegates. The next Conference will be held in March 2009.
  • The Intergovernmental Committee is responsible for promoting the objectives of the Convention and for encouraging and monitoring its implementation in a spirit of transparency and vigilance. In December 2007, the Committee met for the first time in Ottawa to launch the implementation of the Convention. Four meetings followed, during which the Committee discussed the two main objectives of the Convention, namely international cooperation in favour of developing countries and the involvement of civil society in the implementation process of the Convention.

To date, 145 UNESCO Member States have ratified the Convention.