Information Session: Ratification makes a Difference

UNESCO Headquarters - Room II
14 June 2011 from 09h30 to 11h00

In the past five years, over 60% of the UNESCO Member States have ratified the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The European Union also acceded to the Convention; marking a first for the EU in the cultural field.

In comparison to other international Conventions, the critical mass of countries that have ratified the 2005 Convention in such a short period of time is considered an extraordinary achievement. Most importantly, it signals a commitment for action from governments around the world to ensure that artists, cultural professionals, practitioners and citizens worldwide can create, produce, disseminate and enjoy a broad range of cultural goods, services and activities, including their own.

In addition, intergovernmental organisations such as the International Organisation of the Francophonie (IOF), Latin Union, Commonwealth Foundation or the Council of Europe have repeatedly called upon their members to ratify the Convention as an essential tool to promote international cooperation, to strengthen the system of governance for culture and to demonstrate their support for culture as an essential pillar of development. International NGOs such as the International Federation for Coalitions for Cultural Diversity or the International Network for Cultural Diversity have made the promotion of ratification a centre piece of their activities around the world.

There is, however, a need to ensure momentum in the pace of ratification and a more balanced geographic representation among Parties to the Convention to make it a genuine instrument of international cooperation. This is a priority expressed in the strategy of ratification adopted by the Intergovernmental Committee to the Convention.

Therefore, the purpose of this information session is to engage in a discussion on the following key questions: why ratification of the Convention is important, how it can make a difference, what kinds of concrete activities have been pursued since ratification, are there countries that have not ratified the Convention but are implementing it anyway?

This information session was moderated by Patrick Simonin from TV5 who engaged the following invited guests in a discussion on why ratification makes a difference from the point of view of different stakeholder groups:

  • Mrs. Ayoko Mensah , Editor in Chief of AFRISCOPE
  • Mr. Frederic Bouilleux, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie
  • Mrs. Basma El Husseiny, Managing Director, Cultural Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy)
  • Mr Zhi Yang, Ministry of Culture, People’s Republic of China and Chairperson of the 5th Intergovernmental Committee for the 2005 Convention
  • H. E. Mrs Sonia Sarmiento Gutierrez, Ambassador of Colombia to UNESCO

Audience participation is key not only to interact with the invited guests, but more importantly to engage Parties to share their experiences with ratification and to encourage non-Parties to ask questions and share information on the status of ratification in their countries. What are the challenges or barriers toward ratification?

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