Canada first to ratify the UN cultural agency’s diversity convention

Canada first to ratify the UN cultural agency’s diversity convention

Canada has become the first State to ratify an international convention on retaining the rich diversity of the world’s means of cultural expression, now endangered by globalization, which was adopted last October by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Welcoming the first ratification of Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, said that "UNESCO has elaborated a range of standard-setting instruments to protect cultural diversity, to be found not only in tangible and intangible heritage, but also in contemporary forms of creativity."

As examples of the kind of cultural consolidation threatened by globalization, UNESCO pointed out that 50 per cent of the world languages are in danger of extinction and that 90 per cent of them are not represented on the Internet.

In addition, it said that some five countries monopolize the world cultural industries. In the field of cinema, for instance, 88 countries out of 185 in the world have never had their own film productions.

Besides promoting diversity in those areas, the Convention seeks to reaffirm the links between culture, development and dialogue and to create a platform for international cooperation, UNESCO said.

The Convention also supports UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity adopted in 2001, which recognized cultural diversity as "a source of exchange, innovation and creativity,” a common heritage of humanity that "should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations."

The new Convention reaffirms the sovereign right of States to elaborate cultural policies with a view "to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions and reinforce international cooperation" while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Convention will enter into force three months after its ratification by 30 States Parties.