New Internationalist

UNESCO stands up

September 2005

UNESCO member states have decided to recommend an international convention to protect cultural diversity and the right of member states to craft their own cultural policies. At a meeting in Paris in June, the 191 UNESCO members produced a strong draft treaty. The agreement includes a recognition of the distinct nature of cultural goods, the legal status on the convention will be equal in international law to other agreements including trade agreements. Some critics fear, however, that the non-binding nature of the treaty’s dispute settlement mechanism will de facto leave trade in cultural goods at the mercy of the free traders who control the World Trade Organization.

Following the pattern of militant unilateralism of the Bush Administration, the US delegation is lashing out in opposition. Robert S Martin, the head of the US delegation, described the convention as ‘deeply flawed and fundamentally incompatible with UNESCO’s constitutional obligation to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image’. The crux of their argument is given away in the claim that the convention will ‘set back progress toward economic liberalization that has done so much to increase prosperity… particularly in the developing world where culture plays such an important role in development.’ In other words – no free trade, no Hollywood movies, no development and no cultural freedom.

Coalition for Cultural Diversity (Ottawa) / Final Statement US Delegation

This column was published in the September 2005 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on UNESCO stands up

Leave your comment







 

  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Get our free fortnightly eNews

Multimedia

Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Currents

All Currents

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 382

New Internationalist Magazine issue 382
Issue 382

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.

Subscribe