First Meeting of Intergovernmental Experts on the Preliminary Draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions
At the first meeting of intergovernmental experts regarding an instrument on cultural diversity, 600 experts representing 132 UNESCO member countries, as well as numerous observers, 19 international organizations and 20 non-governmental organizations gathered in Paris from September 20 to 24 to review the preliminary draft of the Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions.
After opening the meeting, UNESCO's Director-General Koichiro Matsuura emphasized that this first stage of negotiation was important for the Organization, and that the proposed preliminary draft was a good starting point for discussions. He stressed the need, 'given the enormous challenges of this Convention, to present the next General Conference with a text that reflects a consensus,' although 'it is normal and desirable for debate to arise and different opinions to be expressed' at this initial phase of discussion.
In accordance with the rules of procedure, this first intergovernmental meeting of experts elected the chair and board and formed a 24-member drafting committee open to observers that will meet in December in order to work on improving the draft convention based on the written comments by UNESCO's member states to be received by 15 November 2004.
Information about the process of negotiations, the draft text, as well as other texts relevant for the negotiating process can be found at the UNESCO web portal: www.unesco.org/culture
First Consultative Meeting for the Preparation of the World Conference on 'Culture/Arts Education' Planned for 2006, Lisbon
The first consultative meeting for the preparation of the World Conference on Arts Education was held at UNESCO's Headquarters in May 2004. The main purpose of this meeting was to explore possible topics and a suitable format for the World Conference on Arts Education to be organized together by UNESCO, the Government of Portugal and the International Community dealing with the subjects related to education and the arts.
Since 2000, UNESCO's Culture Sector has been in charge of the programme for arts education and creativity, which is being developed simultaneously, in cooperation with the Education Sector, as a follow-up to the World Forum on 'Education for All' and the 1996 'Learning - a Treasure Within', report prepared by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century, headed by Jacques Delors under the aegis of UNESCO. Specialized NGOs in arts education throughout the world that are also involved in this UNESCO initiative include the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA), the International Drama/Theatre Education Association (IDEA), and Education International (EI) among others.
The World Conference to be organized by UNESCO on the basis of the outcomes of these initiatives will aim at promoting research on arts education, enhancing culture and education advocacy, and launching a strategy for implanting art inside and outside the school environment.
Under this programme, regional conferences on arts education have been organized to enable experts in different regions to exchange information with the intention of developing a new pedagogical approach to arts activities. The regional meetings have studied ways of introducing arts education in school curricula. Such meetings have already been held in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab States, Asia, Europe and North America and the Pacific Region.
Preparatory research and the proceedings are available on the LEA International (International Links for Education and Art) website at: http://www.unesco.org/culture/lea
Issue no. 2/Vol 31, 2003 of the UNISIST Newsletter carries a report on the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which was held in Geneva in December 2003.
The long and difficult process of the Summit negotiations resulted in the Declaration of Principles and Actions Plan, involving key principles and values. A move from talking about 'the information society' to 'building knowledge societies' was a deliberate paradigm shift. (See Culturelink no. 40/August 2003, pp. 35-36 and no. 42/April 2004, pp. 40-43.)
Another congress report presented in this issue of the UNISIST Newsletter relates to the World Library and Information Congress held in Berlin in August 2003. The theme of the Congress was Access Point Library: Media - Information - Culture reflecting the role of libraries of all kinds as gateways to information, knowledge and culture.
An especially interesting article which also concerns libraries, touches upon the concept of attracting tourists to libraries, the concept which is not new but is not widely emphasized. The public libraries in Curaçao and Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, are explored by way of an example and some useful ideas for attracting tourists are given.
The issue also carries short descriptions of 23 new heritage collections inscribed on the Memory of the World Register, bringing the total to 91 items. This also results in 12 new countries on the Register: Barbados, Brazil, Chile, France, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro, Tajikistan, Thailand and Uruguay.
The Chapter on Information Literacy contains a report from the National Forum on Information Literacy held in Prague in September 2003, resulting in the Prague Declaration Towards an Information Literate Society.
The same chapter also carries information about UNESCO's Information Literacy Programme which aims to develop both critical understanding and active participation by users. A conceptual framework with objectives, strategies and actions is to be developed in the coming years.
The issue also presents information and conference reports in the fields of archives, software and UNESCO INFOYOUTH Programme.
The activities of the regional offices and new publications are reported at the end of this issue.
For more information, please contact: UNISIST Newsletter, Information Society Division, UNESCO, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 14, France; tel.: +33 1 4568 4497; fax: +33 1 2468 5583; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://unescodoc.unesco.org/ulis/index.html