4 April – UNESCO Director-General took part in the inter-ministerial meeting held on the side-lines of the Chaillot Forum at the initiative of the French Minister of Culture and Communication, Ms Aurélie Filippetti, and in the presence of the President of the French Republic, Mr François Hollande. The aim of this meeting, which brought together more than 20 European culture ministers as well as European Commissioners Androulla Vassiliou (Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth) and Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services), was to launch the European strategy for culture in the digital age project, on the eve of the European Parliament elections.
“Culture is our renewable energy par excellence, and cultural diversity is our largest ideas laboratory, a driver of creativity, innovation and confidence. We can invest more in this area and UNESCO wholeheartedly supports Europe’s efforts in this regard.” This was the statement by UNESCO’s Director-General, emphasizing the advances made possible by UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted in 2005, which recognized for the first time in international law that cultural activities, goods and services have both an economic and cultural nature, because they convey identities, values and meanings and must therefore not be treated as solely having commercial value. “The challenge is to create innovative policies that are capable of managing this dual dimension, which I am convinced corresponds to the current demand for more integrated policies that are capable of addressing several issues at the same time”, she stressed.
The work being done under the 2005 UNESCO Convention is currently focusing on implementing the Convention’s principles in the digital environment. The Convention, conceived on the basis of technological neutrality, recognizes in its preamble that “while the processes of globalization, which have been facilitated by the rapid development of information and communication technologies, afford unprecedented conditions for enhanced interaction between cultures, they also represent a challenge for cultural diversity, namely in view of risks of imbalances between rich and poor countries”.
“When we look at European diversity, the richness of its heritage and its creative people, all that energy, it gives us something to be confident in, and UNESCO will be by your side to set this potential free”, highlighted Irina Bokova.
During the forum, which took place on 4 and 5 April at the Palais de Chaillot, Paris, a collective of artists with the notable participation of Jean-Michel Jarre, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, launched the Chaillot Appeal “for a new Europe of culture”, calling the attention of European leaders to the need to offer more support to creative people and to invest in culture as a lever of development and European integration.