Article 16 on Preferential Treatment

Article 16 is a fundamental provision of the Convention which calls for a new approach to international cooperation. It simultaneously involves cultural policies, trade policies and environmental policies to ensure the coordination of public policies regarding cultural industries, cultural goods and services and artists at the national level, therefore contributing to better cultural governance.

The article calls on Parties from developed countries to implement preferential treatment for artists and cultural goods and services from developing countries.
To facilitate the implementation of this complex article, operational guidelines approved by the Conference of Parties in 2009 have been added to guide Parties in their process. They specify the dimensions to which preferential treatment applies:

  • The cultural dimension,
  • The trade dimension,
  • The trade and cultural dimensions.

The guidelines also provide Parties with a series of measures that developed countries can take to ensure the implementation of the article, as well as examples to help developing countries create a favourable environment enabling them to receive preferential treatment.  See types of measures

In December 2013, the Committee requested that Article 16, on preferential treatment for developing countries, be added to the reflection on the monitoring of the implementation and impact of Article 21 on international consultation and coordination. A first consultation took place in 2014 (see questionnaire).  The following observations emerged:

  • Measuring the implementation and impact of Article 16 is complex as the Convention is relatively new.
  • The application of Article 16 has repercussions in various sensitive areas and themes that intertwine but which have different objectives: international trade, digital technology and national security issues. 
  • It is still too early to assess the overall impact of Article 16, as it depends on long-term effects inducing major modifications at the institutional and governance level. 

Some results are evident: while Parties have their own approaches regarding the implementation of Article 16, some trends can be identified, namely the application of this article within three chosen areas: trade, international cooperation and the topic of culture and development, digital issues being a cross-cutting theme.

More information:

  • Concept note: Preferential treatment, international coordination and consultation
  • Working documents:
  • Preferential treatment and international consultation and coordination: report on Articles 16 and 21 of the Convention. Document CE/15/5.CP/11
  • Preferential treatment and International consultation and coordination: report on the implementation and impact of Articles 16 and 21 of the Convention. Document CE/14/8.IGC/11
  • Summary record of the debates of the Governing Bodies:
  • Detailed summary record of the seventh ordinary session of the Committee. Document CE/14/8.IGC/3, para. 247 to 282
  • Detailed summary record of the eighth ordinary session of the Committee. Document CE/15/9.IGC/3, para. 279 to 304
  • Summary record of the exchange session, 9 June 2015. Preferential treatment, international consultation and coordination. Document CE/15/9.IGC/INF.6b
  • Analytical summaries of the periodic reports:
  • Strategic and action-oriented analytical summary of the quadrennial periodic reports, Document CE/12/6.IGC/4, para. 38 to 48
  • Quadrennial periodic reporting: new reports and analytical summary, Document CE/13/7.IGC/5 para. 21 and 22
  • Quadrennial periodic reports - New reports and analytic summary, Document CE/14/8.IGC/7a
  • Reports prepared by the six experts in 2008
  • Report of the Internal Oversight Service (IOS) on the 2005 Convention: “Evaluation of UNESCO’s Standard-setting Work of the Culture Sector. Part IV – 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions”, Jordi Baltà, Interarts Foundation, Barcelona, with inputs from the Internal Oversight Service, Evaluation Section, April 2014. 

Further reading: