UNESCO has given its Director General a mandate to draft a convention on protecting the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions by the fall of 2005. Proponents of the convention view commitments made by countries in trade agreements as weakening their ability to preserve and promote cultural diversity. We review the existing draft wording for a convention, developed before the official involvement of UNESCO, by the INCP, an association representing cultural ministries in favour of insulating their cultural policies from liberalization, and conclude that it fails to meet the necessary conditions for an enforceable rules-based international agreement. In the INCP text, countries are given rights to introduce policies that promote a self-defined cultural diversity. The only obligation is to balance their interests with those of others. No standard of adjudication for balance is offered nor any effective dispute resolution mechanism developed. The ultimate purpose of the initiative may be to form a negotiating bloc within the WTO, but the disparate interests of its members and the lack of tangible benefits from the Convention reduce the credibility of bargaining solidarity. In contrast, the WTO provides a flexible and effective forum for negotiating maintenance of current policy options at a cost of making concessions in other sectors.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Cultural activities, Cultural diversity, Cultural industries, INCP, Trade
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10824-004-3587-9
Journal Journal of Cultural Economics
Citation
Acheson, K, & Maule, C. (Christopher). (2004). Convention on cultural diversity. Journal of Cultural Economics, 28(4), 243–256. doi:10.1007/s10824-004-3587-9