UNESCO champions cultural diversity at the Cannes Film Festival

UNESCO and Better World Forum, will host a dinner on the theme of Cinema and Diversity in Cannes on 18 May (Marriott Hotel, 8pm) to draw attention to the need to promote cultural diversity in the film industry and highlight the contribution of creative film makers to economic and social development.

Internationally renowned artist Forest Whitaker, who is also UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation, will take part in the dinner alongside UNESCO representatives and young film makers from emerging countries such as Tapiwa Chipfupa (Zimbabwe) and Pocas Pascoal (Angola). The film makers will speak of their experiences and of the hurdles they have had to meet to carry their projects through.

Trade in cultural goods and services worldwide is still largely dominated by industrialized nations. A little more than 50% of the 7,000 films produced worldwide every year come from developing countries. But though countries, like China and India, are increasingly able to compete with industrialized countries, others are hard put to lay the foundations of strong cultural industries.  

According to the Re|shaping Cultural Policies report published by UNESCO in December 2015, developing countries’ share in the 202.8 billion dollars generated by the export of cultural goods have risen from 25,6% in 2004 to 46.7%. But, China and India aside, developing countries’ share in this international trade only grew by 5% from 2004 to 2013.  

The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted by UNESCO in 2005, notably aims to contribute to more balanced exchanges in cultural goods and service and improving artists’ mobility worldwide. The Convention entered into force in 2007 and has been signed to date by 142 States as well as the European Union. The Convention disposes of an International Fund for Cultural Diversity to support projects linked to the creative industries in 50 developing countries, notably in Africa.  

Five photographs by Séverine Desmarest, part of the Peace Lies in our Hands exhibition, will be auctioned at the dinner. Proceeds from the sale will benefit a project led by the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative and UNESCO to mobilize young people at the service of peace and reconciliation in South Sudan. Another beneficiary will be the Panzi Foundation’s project to counter violence against women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the International Fund for Cultural Diversity.  

The dinner is organized with the support of the Aileen Getty Foundation, the Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde of the Institut Français, Unite4good, Champagne Armand de Brignac, BMW and Albane communication.  


Media contacts: UNESCO: Rochelle Roca-Hachem,

, +33 (0) 6 88 34 72 33

Better World Forum: Dominique Ségall, +33 (0) 6 08 55 11 40,

and Laurence Marchese, 06 28 91 00 92,