2005 Convention Committee awards funding to six IFCD projects and adopts draft Operational Guidelines on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in a Digital Environment

The emergence of a dynamic cultural sector is powered by strong cultural policies for development, capacity building of cultural entrepreneurs and the creation of new cultural industry business models. The advent of the digital era has been heavily influencing the shape of today’s creative economies, driven by innovative cultural and creative industries.    

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions has worked on these issues during its tenth session held at UNESCO Headquarters from 12 – 15 December 2016. Highlights of the meeting include the Committee’s selection of six projects from a total of 36 that were eligible to be recipients of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) in the framework of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.  The IFCD promotes sustainable development and poverty reduction by investing in projects in developing countries that strengthen policies and strategies fostering the diversity of cultural expressions or that promote viable cultural and creative industries, such as book publishing, music and film, at the local and regional levels.

This year’s projects are: Cartography and capacity building for cultural industries in Bogotá (Colombia); Cinema as a means of expression among youth and development of film industry (Madagascar); Engagement of disadvantaged communities in the international music market (Namibia); Promoting startups in cultural and creative industries (Palestine); Voices of the ASU: emerging cultural expressions of the young people in Asunción (Paraguay); and Regional capacity building workshops for artists, cultural promoters and local administrators on the implementation of local cultural policies (Togo). Each will receive funds of up to US$100,000.

Another key decision taken following several years of preparation and rich debate was the adoption of draft Operational Guidelines on the implementation of the Convention in the digital environment.  This ground-breaking document provides important principles in the interest of all stakeholders, for policy, trade, regulatory and business developments in the digital environment that will foster the diversity of cultural expressions. The Guidelines recognize the need for an integrated approach to digital issues arising from rapid market growth and economic pressures, as well as the need to address the digital divide between developed and less developed countries when it comes to the flow of cultural goods and services, digital literacy, and equitable access to local cultural content.  Also covered are issues such as copyright and online piracy, and the fair remuneration for artists and cultural professionals.  

In all of its deliberations the Committee underscored the importance of engagement of civil society in the implementation of the Convention, and heard from civil society members on all agenda items.  The meeting included a first working session between civil society organizations and members of the bureau to the Intergovernmental Committee to the 2005 Convention as well as a civil society panel on Creativity in the digital age.