On 21 September, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, gave a lecture on “The 2005 Convention: its legacy and the new challenges to the next ten years” in the opening of the International Seminar on Culture and Development, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event was opened by the Minister of Culture of Brazil, H.E. Mr João Luiz Silva (Juca) Ferreira and was attended by a large public including researchers, students and members of civil society.
The seminar celebrated the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the 70th anniversary of UNESCO.
“We are on the verge of a new creative economy, and the 2005 Convention is the roadmap we need to harness the potential of this global change”, said the Director-General.
By reviewing the impact of the 2005 Convention, she declared: “Over the decade, this Convention has become the leading global platform to collect information and strengthen cultural policies, with instruments and databases of innovative examples from around the world, accessible to everyone, from policy-makers, to artists and citizens.” The Director-General referred to the tremendous influence of the Convention on international cooperation, bringing together countries as Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Bolivia.
She underscored the importance of the protection and the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions, not as a simple trade and commerce issue, but as a vision of society and humanity. “This is about a vision of human beings as cultural beings, for whom the ability to create, to express oneself, to transmit heritage to future generations is vital, as important as the air we breathe, the food we eat,” said the Director-General.
The lecture was followed by an institutional video presenting the aims and objectives of the Convention’s International Fund, prepared in cooperation with the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, and concluded by a concert of Mr Gilberto Gil, UNESCO Artist for Peace.
Earlier in the day, the Director-General met Minister Juca Ferreira, who explained Brazil's position on the Convention of underwater cultural heritage. He also expressed preoccupation regarding the increasing traffic of cultural goods due to the lack of an inventory which would enable identification of artefacts. Lastly, the Minister expressed Brazil's interest in the creation of a UNESCO Chair on cultural policies management.
The Director-General visited the Museum of the Indian, where she met with Indigenous leaders and received the “Memorial das Línguas em Extinção” (the Complete Dossier and Grammar of Endangered Indigenous Languages). This publication is part of a partnership between UNESCO, the Museum of the Indian and the National Foundation for Indians that has allowed more than 30,000 indigenous people to benefit from 42 projects of documentation on Indigenous languages and cultures.
The Director-General had a friendly and fruitful exchange with Mr Nizan Guanaes and Mr Oskar Metsavaht, two committed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors with the aim to develop future joint actions related to world heritage.
The candidature of the Valongo Wharf Archeological site, inscribed in the tentative list, was presented to the Director-General.