What were the stages that led to the adoption of the Convention?

The preparatory work on the preliminary draft of the Convention was carried out over a period of two years. Negotiations were initiated with the adoption of Resolution 32C/34 (pdf), at the 32nd session of the General Conference (October 2003). In accordance with this resolution and with the procedures for the elaboration and adoption of international instruments at UNESCO, the Director-General first entrusted fifteen independent experts with the task of undertaking preliminary reflection and submitting to him recommendations on the preparation of a preliminary draft of a Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions. In the course of three meetings, the independent experts succeeded in drawing up a detailed text.

Following these meetings, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, submitted to the Member States a preliminary report accompanied by a preliminary draft convention in mid-July 2004 with a view to gathering their comments and observations by mid-November 2004. At the same time, he undertook consultations with other international governmental organizations: the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which forwarded their comments on the preliminary draft convention in November 2004.

The three sessions of the intergovernmental meeting of experts took place between September 2004 and June 2005 so as to enable the representatives of UNESCO’s Member States to discuss and improve the text drawn up by the group of independent experts. As for the meetings of the Drafting Committee set up at the first intergovernmental session, they made it possible to finalize the text of the preliminary draft of the Convention. These different stages culminated in the adoption of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, on 20 October 2005, by the General Conference at its 33rd session (148 States voted in favour, 2 voted against and 4 abstained).