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The First Meeting of Focal Points

for the 2005 Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the Asia-Pacific region

Bangkok, 4-6 March 2014

 

Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Asia: Challenges and Perspectives on the Implementation of the 2005 Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

From 4 to 6 March 2014, UNESCO Bangkok hosted the first-ever meeting of focal points for the 2005 Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Convention promotes the development of cultural policies which aim 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.  It also acknowledges the importance of collaboration and exchanges at all levels to strengthen stakeholders in the culture and creative sectors.

Moreover, the 2005 Convention urges State Parties to fully recognize the central role of culture in sustainable development policies, and requests them to further strengthen international cooperation in this respect.

Although Asia-Pacific is the region with the lowest rate of ratification for this Convention, with so far only 13 Parties in the region, there is a growing interest for cultural and creative industries. It is one of the fastest expanding sector in this region and accounts for over 10% of the GDP as well as a significant share of employment in many countries. 

Dr Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok, observed that this Convention is significant not only for the cultural and creative sectors, but as well as for all people. Its principles aim to promote all cultural expressions, including those of marginalized groups, contributing to better mutual understanding and harmony.

This meeting, co-organized with the International Federation of Arts and Culture Council Association (IFACCA), brought together nine Parties to the Convention in the region. The focal point for Brazil, Ms. Gisele Dupin, also shared her experience with delegates. Thailand and Nepal, which are currently considering ratification of the Convention, attended as observers.

Throughout the three-day workshop, Danielle Cliche, Chief of UNESCO’s Diversity of Culture Expressions Division and Secretary of the Convention, detailed the key principles of the Convention as well as the mechanisms of the periodic reporting. However, the richness of the meeting laid in the dynamic exchanges between the participating focal points. The latter earnestly shared real examples on how the Convention is understood and implemented in their respective countries, innovative approaches that yielded interesting results as well as the difficulties they still face.

The 3-day the meeting provided the participating countries with concrete ideas on how to strengthen the implementation of the Convention at the national level. UNESCO and the focal points will also explore ways to replicate and expand this fruitful networking experience.