Cultural Diversity in Knowledge Societies

10 December 2003, 1.30 p.m.-4.30 p.m - Palexpo, Room C

This Thematic Roundtable is intended to analyse the impact of certain incidents of the information society on social and cultural development. Culture is at the heart of contemporary debates about identity, social cohesion, and the development of a knowledge-based economy. The promotion of linguistic diversity on global information networks, the production of local and indigenous content on the Internet and universal access to cyberspace are central issues.

The Roundtable will focus on three soft law instruments that have been prepared under the aegis of UNESCO: The UNESCO Universal Declaration on cultural diversity, 2001, the Recommendation on the promotion and use of multilingualism and universal access to cyberspace, 2003, and the Charter for the preservation of digital heritage, 2003.

The support of the very principle of diversity, the digital preservation challenges and the need to reaffirm and promote the fair balance between the legitimate rights of creators and right holders and the interest of the public in the digital environment will be discussed by legal experts. Practical examples of UNESCO’s work will complement the debate.

UNESCO’s Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity seeks strategic alliances between public authorities and the business sector to strengthen local cultural industries and enforce copyright protection in developing countries. The DIGI-ARTS sub-portal of the UNESCO knowledge portal aims to promote cultural and artistic diversity and intercultural dialogue, with special emphasis put on adolescents and young people.

The practical use of NICTs for establishing databases for museums and tracking illicitly trafficked cultural goods will be demonstrated by the recent activities in the museums of Baghdad and Kabul in collaboration with INTERPOL.

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