Cape Town, South Africa

“Fostering Cultural Diversity and Development”

187 delegates
36 countries

Who we are:

INCD is a worldwide network working to counter the adverse affects of globalization on world cultures.

INCD has members in all regions of the world and all parts of the cultural community. Cultural organizations, artists and cultural producers from every media, academics, heritage institutions and others are joined together around fundamental principles which motivate and guide INCD campaigns.

INCD believes that diverse cultures and artistic expressions can and must thrive in a world of global marketplaces and rapidly changing media technologies.  We invite you to become part of the solution.

Our Campaigns :

Governments have a right and responsibility to create policies which nurture domestic artists and develop the creative capacity and cultural industries of their societies, and not have them eroded by trade and investment agreements.  INCD has been in the leadership of the campaign and continues to work for an effective and widely-ratified convention on cultural diversity through UNESCO.

INCD understands that promoting more balanced exchanges between cultures requires a commitment to support the development of the arts and cultural industries in all countries. INCD works to have governments implement the policies they need to support local artists and cultural producers, and more balanced exchanges between cultures.

INCD believes for countries of the South should integrate culture into their Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and advocates that all public and private development agencies allocate an appropriate and fixed percentage of their resources to the development of cultural projects.

INCD believes that cultural rights established in international legal instruments should be strengthened. INCD urges special actions to preserve threatened languages and cultures, including those of indigenous peoples as a dynamic part of our shared future.

“One of the wonders of our menaced globe is the variety of its experiences, its memories, and its desires.  Any attempt to impose a uniform politics on this diversity is like a prelude to death.”  ( Carlos Fuentes)

Our Activities:

INCD advocates for the needs of arts and culture among civil society groups and with governments and their agencies, including UNESCO, UNCTAD, the UN and the International Network on Cultural Policy.  We facilitate networking and communication among members and organize meetings on diversity issues.

INCD researches and circulates information about the effects of trade agreements and economic globalization on cultural and media policies.  

INCD carries the concerns of the arts and cultural industries to the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and at regional trade negotiations.

INCD is working to establish mechanisms to assess the cultural impact of economic development projects.

“Market forces alone cannot guarantee the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity, which is the key to sustainable human development.”
(UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity.  Art. 11)

Global Scope:

INCD's democratically-elected Steering Committee Members come from every region and we have sponsored activities on six continents. 

INCD has helped to launch national networks or cultural institutes in many countries. We collaborate around the world with other civil society groups and cultural organizations that share our basic positions.  We are working to build a broadly-based and inclusive cultural diversity movement.

INCD was formed in 1998 and held its first annual meeting in Santorini , Greece in 2000.  Subsequent annual meetings have been held in Switzerland , South Africa , Croatia , China , Senegal and Brazil , in parallel with the annual ministerial meeting of the International Network on Cultural Policy (INCP).

INCD maintains its international secretariat in Toronto , Canada and has offices in Dakar , Senegal and in Brussels , Belgium .

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed.  I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible.  But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any .”
Mahatma Gandhi

Why should artists care about globalization?

In many parts of the world, the voices of local artists are being drowned out by imported entertainment. Multinational entertainment industries, ever larger and more concentrated, spread a homogenized global culture. Trade bodies can worsen the situation by limiting the ability of nations to support their own artists and cultural institutions. Likewise international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may limit funding for cultural and other programs as a condition of much-needed loans.

Artists and audiences around the world envision a different kind of globalization: one which encourages cultural production within nations, and authentic exchange among them; one which encourages the dynamic coexistence of a diversity of cultures.

We are artists and citizens of the global village.  We come from every community and work in all artistic fields.  Through our words, music, films, dance, paintings and plays, in every language on earth, we entertain, inform and engage our fellow citizens in the adventure of being human.
(INCD artists' letter, September 2003)

Statement of Principles:

Expression through arts and culture is a fundamental part of human society.

Cultural diversity strengthens us all and must be maintained and promoted as an important part of sustainable development.

The fruits of artistic creation are more than conventional goods and services, each is unique and all are an integral part of human societies.

Cultures should have the opportunity to interact with each other, enriching artistic expression and expanding choices.

Market forces alone cannot ensure the creation and sustainability of cultural diversity at the national and international levels.

States and citizens have a right and a responsibility to implement policies and programs that support diverse artistic and cultural activities and to protect these from unwanted interventions from outside political or economic forces.

Recognition and preservation of the cultures of indigenous peoples and traditional cultures requires special attention.


INCD membership is open to organizations and individuals in the arts and culture communities who support our principles and our work.  Membership brings information and contacts on global issues which affect your survival as an artist, cultural producer and citizen. 

Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in the dialogue and help bring local issues to the international stage.
  • Receive regular newsletters with up-to-date information on key developments and reports on INCD activities.
  • Help to shape the direction of INCD.  Attend INCD meetings at reduced rates and vote in our biennial elections.
  • Share information with a large network of collaborators through the website and newsletter.

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