Diversity of cultural expressions facing the digital challenge

09 December 2016

Paris-- Over the last fifteen years, the digital environment has profoundly transformed the world’s cultural scene, overturned traditional regulatory mechanisms and affected the status of cultural goods and services in international trade negotiations. These issues will be at the heart of the discussions of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, convening from 12 to 15 December 2016 at UNESCO Headquarters.

This tenth session of the Committee will be the occasion to adopt draft operational guidelines on the implementation of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the digital environment. Designed to better address questions of digital governance, they will aim to encourage new policies and measures based on principles of openness and access: support for creation; modernization of cultural industries; diversification of cultural and linguistic content; and balanced flow of cultural goods and services.

To address these issues, which fall within the wider context of the debate on the inclusion of Culture in the United Nation's 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, a high-level ministerial panel will be held on 13 December from 3pm to 4pm. Participants include Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO; Audrey Azoulay, Minister of Culture and Communication (France); Fernando Griffith, Minister of Culture (Paraguay), Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage (Canada) and Yaya Abdoul Kane, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications (Senegal).

Two studies will be presented to the Committee to foster discussions. The first examines, for the first time, the impact of the 2005 Convention on the content of 51 bilateral and regional agreements concluded since 2005. It shows in particular that the cultural clauses used in more than one third of these agreements "remain an effective technique to preserve the State’s leeway and capacity to take action regarding cultural matters". The second describes how the cultural and creative industries have adapted to challenges of digital technologies in Spain and four Latin American countries (Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico).

In addition, the Committee will decide on requests for funding under the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), which supports cultural and creative industries in developing countries. Projects in Colombia, Madagascar, Namibia, Palestine, Paraguay and Togo have been recommended for approval.

A multimedia installation, created by Senegalese artists under the auspices of Kër Thiossane will be inaugurated on December 13 at 5pm at UNESCO Headquarters (Hall in front of Room I).

The 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, ratified to date by 144 States Parties and the European Union, has introduced a new international framework for the governance and management of culture. It ensures that artists, cultural professionals, practitioners and citizens around the world can create, produce, disseminate and enjoy a wide range of cultural goods, services and activities.

The Intergovernmental Committee is made up of representatives of 24 States Parties to the Convention. They meet once a year, and can meet in extraordinary session at the request of at least two-thirds of its members to address specific concerns.

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The session will be webcast live: mms://stream.unesco.org/live/room_02_en.wmv

Journalists who would like to cover the event should be accredited.

Media contact: Laetitia Kaci, UNESCO Press Service, l.kaci@unesco.org, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 72.