Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

The year 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Canada is delighted to celebrate this anniversary and would like to take the opportunity provided by this historic milestone to reiterate its commitment to promoting the diversity of cultural expressions in Canada and abroad.

Background

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is an international legal instrument that reasserts both the right and the importance for member States to develop and implement cultural policies to support the diversity of cultural expressions. The Convention also acknowledges the dual nature—social and economic—of cultural goods and services (such as books, magazines, music, television, films and new media) because they convey identities, values and meanings, and have a commercial value.

The Convention was adopted by UNESCO on October 20, 2005, and officially entered into force on March 18, 2007. It has now been ratified by more than 130 States Parties.

Canada’s Role

From the beginning, Canada has been working actively to promote an international instrument that protects and encourages the diversity of cultural expressions through various international forums, such as the Francophonie or UNESCO.

Canada has shown leadership in supporting the development, promotion and implementation of the Convention. In addition to becoming the first country to ratify the Convention in November 2005, Canada has been an active member (from 2007 to 2013) of the Intergovernmental Committee responsible for the implementation of the Convention. Canada also hosted this Committee’s very first meeting in December 2007 in Ottawa.

For this file, the Government of Canada collaborates with its provincial and territorial partners, particularly with Quebec who is closely involved in the Convention’s file, and has been from the very beginning. As established in the Canada Quebec Agreement concerning UNESCO, Quebec is represented fully as part of the Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO.

Canada also collaborates with the various stakeholders from civil society, including:

  • The Coalition for Cultural Diversity (CCD): The CCD represents some 30 Canadian national associations in the cultural industry. It strives to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions and encourages the creation of similar groups in other countries.
  • The Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCU): The CCU is an independent agency operating under the aegis of the Canada Council for the Arts. The CCU is a forum for dialogue between the government and civil society. It has a network comprised of nearly 400 members across the country, including federal departments and agencies, intergovernmental organizations that represent the provinces and territories, non-governmental organizations, institutional members and individuals.

Implementation of the Convention

Canada plays a leading role in the implementation of the Convention and participates actively in the meetings of the two oversight bodies responsible for its implementation: 

To date, the Government of Canada has contributed $500 000 to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity. The Fund was created as part of the initiatives that encourage the international collaboration set out in the Convention. It is made up primarily of voluntary contributions by the member States and public and private agencies. The Fund must be used to support cooperation for sustainable development and promote the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector among developing countries.