Vol. 6 No 6
1. INCD News
Registration for INCD Sixth Annual Meeting is now open
INCD is now accepting registrations for its 6th Annual Meeting taking place in Dakar, Senegal from 17-20 November 2005. INCD invites all of its members and others concerned about the corrosive affects of globalization on world cultures to join us. The registration form is below. As funds are obtained, INCD will be offering to sponsor a limited number of delegates to ensure there is a broad range of delegates from around the world. If you require financial assistance in order to attend, you must let us know as soon as possible.
The Senegal meeting is taking place at a critical time. Only a few weeks before, the General Conference of UNESCO is expected to approve the terms of the Convention on cultural diversity that has been at the forefront of the INCD’s work since its first meeting in 2000. The meeting will consider the final results of this porcess. But, from the beginning, INCD has said that even the most effective possible Convention, while an essential foundation, will not bring diversity. Achieving greater cultural diversity requires the development of cultural capacity and creative industries and more balance in the global exchange of cultural goods and services. We will explore these issues as well. The meeting also follows the second World Summit on the Information Society and this will be an important opportunity to discuss issues of media ownership and pluralism, public access and the content being delivered by the digital networks.
The meeting is being held in conjunction with the meeting of culture ministers organized in the International Network on Cultural Policy. All delegates to the INCD meeting will have an opportunity to interact informally with the culture ministers at what is sure to be an exciting joint social and cultural event on 20 November being hosted by the Minister of Culture of Senegal. The conclusions of the INCD meeting will be presented to the ministers’ meeting on 21 November.
The INCD meeting will examine the issues from the perspective of six interest areas and we are particularly eager to have representatives interested in these areas:
The issues to be addressed will include:
The theme of the 6th Annual Meeting is Cultural Diversity, Social Cohesion and Sustainable Development: Cultural diversity for human development, alleviating poverty, overcoming inequality and promoting empowerment. We are delighted to have as our co-hosts the Senegalese Coalition for Cultural Diversity and the Senegalese Network of Socio-Cultural Actors.
For more information or a copy of the Draft Agenda, please contact the secretariat. Information updates will be provided in future Newsletters and at www.incd.net.
2. UNESCO Convention Process
Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions
The UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee of Experts has completed its work and adopted a Draft Convention. This has been sent to the Director General and it is anticipated the Convention will be put before the General Conference in October 2005 for approval. The INCD is now carefully reviewing the final text and will provide a complete analysis as soon as possible. In the meantime, the following is the final report from Garry Neil, Executive Director. This should be read in conjunction with the report he prepared for the last newsletter.
Report from Garry Neil,
INCD Executive Director
In the final days of the Intergovernmental Committee, delegates achieved a broad consensus around the remaining elements of the proposed Convention. The resolution of the outstanding and key issues follows.
Relationship to Other Treaties
The Committee adopted an openly ambiguous approach, which the European Commission called a “mirror” solution, the important elements of which are:
20.1 (b) when interpreting and applying the other treaties to which they are parties or when entering into other international obligations, Parties shall take into account the relevant provisions of this Convention.
20.2 Nothing in this Convention shall be interpreted as modifying rights and obligations of the Parties under any other treaties to which they are parties.
There is a clear conflict between Article 20.1(b) and 20.2. The first, which is a new approach in international law, obligates parties to take into account this Convention when interpreting other treaties. However, the second provides that nothing in the Convention can be used to modify rights that States have in those other treaties. There is also language that provides that States are not “subordinating this Convention to any other treaty.”
The compromise solution on this issue involved retaining a conciliation process as the dispute settlement mechanism. While it will be possible for one party to the dispute to initiate the procedure unilaterally, the final report of the conciliation commission is not binding, it has only to be considered “in good faith” by the parties to the dispute. In addition, when ratifying the Convention, a party may take a reservation against this Article and declare that it will not be covered by the dispute settlement system.
This article provides that developed nations “shall” facilitate cultural exchanges and provide preferential access for artists and cultural goods “through appropriate institutional and legal frameworks.” The words “and legal” were added in the final stages. Canada, Australia and New Zealand each made a statement declaring their understanding that this clause does not obligate them to change existing rules and regulations on the movement of artists.
Cultural Development Fund
There will be no mandatory contributions to the fund, merely a commitment that “parties shall endeavour to provide” the voluntary contributions needed to implement the Convention.
At the concluding session, the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Chile, Argentina and Turkey registered a formal reservation about the provisions of Article 20. Various combinations of these States registered reservations about other elements of the text, particularly in relation to seeking that certain rights in the Convention should be “subject to existing international obligations.” The United States expressed a reservation about “the entire text.”
The United States delivered an aggressive final statement, outlining concerns about the process used by the Chair and about the outcome. The U.S. claimed that the Convention “exceeds the mandate of UNESCO,” and threatens to “set back progress toward economic liberalization that has done so much to increase prosperity.” It concluded that the U.S. “still hopes there remains a possibility to achieve a truly consensus convention worthy of UNESCO.” A copy of the U.S. statement can be found at: http://www.amb-usa.fr/USUNESCO/INDEX.HTM.
Initial INCD Reaction
As stated in the last newsletter, if it is approved and ratified, the Convention is a strong statement of the sovereign right of States to implement cultural policies. It clearly enunciates that cultural goods and services have a cultural as well as commercial value and it has an intriguing provision that provides that States will use the Convention when they are interpreting other treaties. It also provides some positive models for international cooperation.
However, to be an effective counterbalance to the trade and investment agreements, it would need also to contain obligations on member States to take actions to promote cultural diversity within their own territories and internationally, and commitments by States to exercise these rights in conformity with principles such as opening their markets to cultural goods and services from countries of the South. The obligations and commitments in the Convention are, at best, modest. INCD will carefully study the final text in the coming months to assess its potential effectiveness in this regard.
INCD is also disappointed States failed to assume concrete commitments to support the development of cultural capacity and creative industries. The language provides only that States “shall endeavour” to do certain things.
At the conclusion of the meeting, INCD issued the following Press Release.
INCD Press Release
3 June 2005
The International Network for Cultural Diversity took a cautious approach on the final outcome of UNESCO negotiations for a new convention on cultural diversity.
Speaking in Paris today, Garry Neil, INCD Executive Director said: “If the objective of the new Treaty is to declare the right of States to implement cultural policies and to establish a new foundation for future cooperation, the Treaty has succeeded. If the objective is to carve out cultural goods and services from the trade agreements, the Treaty is inadequate, at least in the short term.”
Since 2000, the INCD has been in the forefront of the campaign to advocate for a legally binding convention on cultural diversity to halt the growing pressure on cultural policies caused by the multilateral and bilateral trade agreements. It represents more than 400 cultural organizations in 71 countries.
“INCD played an active and positive role in the process and we appreciate the efforts of negotiators to deal with very difficult issues over the past months. INCD will carefully analyze the final text in the next few weeks to assess its value as a tool for protecting and promoting cultural diversity,” concluded Mr. Neil.
The Convention has been hailed as a remarkable achievement by a number of governments from around the world and by representatives of 70 countries (including close to 50 culture ministers) who met in Madrid, June 11-12. The Coalition for Cultural Diversity has been mainly positive about the final text.
Adoption of the Convention by the General Conference is not guaranteed, despite the substantial number of countries which supported the final outcome of the Intergovernmental Committee process. Under UNESCO rules, the General Conference has final authority to adopt the text and full scope to amend it. It is anticipated that the United States and others will attempt to change certain of the provisions of the Convention before or during the Conference, including the removal of Article 20.1(b) of the provisions dealing with other Treaties and eliminating or modifying the dispute settlement process.
After the General Conference adopts the text, individual States will need to ratify it before it can be implemented.
INCD will keep its members informed about developments.
3. Events and Announcements
If we have missed your organization’s event, please contact the Secretariat at email@example.com for inclusion in the next newsletter.
8th International Conference on Arts
and Cultural Management
International Association of Arts and Cultural Management (AIMAC)
Montreal - Canada
Sunday, July 03, 2005 - Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Cultural Portals: Challenges and Best Practices
Department of Canadian Heritage
Aichi - Japan
Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - Friday, July 08, 2005
Festivals and Events: Beyond Economic Impacts
Edinburgh - Scotland
Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - Friday, July 08, 2005
2nd World Culture Forum
World Culture Forum Alliance
September 4-7, 2005
Dead Sea - Jordan
Training for Mobility and Inter-Cultural Relations (training for trainers),
Sept. 8, 2005
Eighth Conference on European Culture
Centre for European Studies
October 26-29, 2005
World Summit on the Information Society
November 16-18, 2005
6th INCD Annual Meeting
November 17-21, 2005
4th International Conference on Cultural Policy Research – ICCPR 2006
July 12 – 16, 2006
The INCD would like to thank the Government of Canada for on-going financial support.