7 June 2021
Looking Ahead: Outcomes of the 8th Session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
The Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005 Convention) held their biannual meeting last week. IFLA attended as an observer, underlining the importance of showing culture's contribution to development, and promoting equitable access for all.
While the Parties themselves are national governments, the Convention recognises the fundamental role of civil society in protecting and promoting the diversity of cultural expressions. Parties are therefore committed to encourage the active participation of civil society in their work to implement the Convention. Part of this engagement is the biannual Civil Society Forum, the third edition of which was held on 31 May.
Civil Society Forum Outcomes
IFLA took a central role in this year’s Civil Society Forum, namely in the following thematic breakout sessions:
- Culture and sustainable development – building on the work of IFLA and partners towards upholding culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development.
- Digital environment, rights, and trade – upholding the importance of meaningful access to information in both the creation of and access to cultural expressions.
The outcome of the Civil Society Forum was a list of recommendations representing the perspective of civil society, which were presented to the Conference of Parties on 2 June. Several of these recommendations to the Parties align closely with areas of IFLA’s work:
- Incorporate culture and creative industries explicitly into the plans, instruments and reporting mechanisms (Voluntary National Reviews and Voluntary Local Reviews) around the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. See more on how libraries engage in VNRs here.
- Fully seize the opportunity to build back better, designing policies that allow culture and creative industries to fulfil their role as the fourth pillar of sustainable development. See more on IFLA’s position on culture at the heart of the COVID-19 response here.
- Pave the way at international level for the inclusion of a goal on culture in the post 2030 international debate on sustainable development, based on the evidence collected through UNESCO, regional, national and local authorities, civil society, academia and the private sector. See the report on Culture in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda here.
- Take note of the best practices observed by civil society while implementing the UNESCO Open Roadmap for Implementation of the Convention in the Digital Environment. See more on how libraries help bridge the digital divide here: Leveraging Public Access to Connect Underserved Users - IFLA@WSIS 2021.
- Further use the Internet Universality indicators to ensure meaningful access to cultural content. See IFLA’s briefing on UNESCO's Internet Universality Indicators here.
The Forum further recommended that all stakeholders acknowledge that cultural participation, a vibrant and inclusive cultural life in communities, and access to culture represent a precondition to achieve all Sustainable Development Goals.
The Conference of Parties called for all Parties to take steps towards creating national plans to protect and promote cultural diversity in the digital environment. As stated in the Convention’s Operational Guidelines for Implementation in the Digital Environment, this includes such activities as:
- encouraging the implementation of digital preservation measures and the development of infrastructure to ensure universal and continuous access to cultural content
- ensuring access to cultural content by suppling the necessary digital equipment to public institutions such as schools, libraries and cultural centers
- setting up programmes for digital literacy, public education and awareness on using the Internet and on mastering digital tools
Parties are further invited to highlight such efforts in their periodic reports, to which civil society actors are encouraged to contribute.
Libraries can play an important role in helping to bridge the digital divide, transfer digital skills, and enable meaningful access to help protect and promote cultural diversity in the digital environment.
What you can do: Email your national point-of-contact and ask to discuss how your library’s activities may be able to contribute to the next annual report. IFLA can help with this.
Do you have experience and stories that can help build a strong body of evidence on how libraries promote and protect diverse cultural expressions – both traditionally and in the digital environment?
Let us know!Share with: firstname.lastname@example.org