The UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions as a Coordination Framework to Promote Regulatory Coherence in the Creative Economy
Posted: 11 Jun 2014 Last revised: 19 Nov 2014
Date Written: August 21, 2014
The present contribution aims to inquire about business convergence in creative industries from the perspective of cultural diversity. It is based on the premise that the recognition of the creative and innovative component of the so-called “creative industries” or the “creative economy” confirms the need for non-economic factors and particularly cultural concerns to be taken into account in regulatory efforts addressing those industries. It examines the way new technologies and business convergence may affect the “trade and culture debate” vis-à-vis the World Trade Organization (WTO), and how the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) may respond in a relevant manner to challenges brought therefrom.
Despite its weakly binding language, the CDCE contains principles, objectives and rules that set a comprehensive framework for policy “related to the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions” at the national, regional and international levels. A fundamental piece in such an approach is the explicit integration of cultural concerns into the concept of sustainable development. This contribution argues that the material and economic perspective adopted in the CDCE, based on the production and consumption of cultural goods and services, remains relevant and pertinent in the creative economy, despite business convergence. By prioritizing policy and regulatory coordination, this paper maintains that the main elements enshrined in the CDCE should be employed to contribute to greater coherence in view of the objective of promoting cultural diversity, including vis-à-vis the WTO and other international organizations.
Keywords: cultural/creative industries, diversity, cultural expressions, creative economy, regulatory/policy coordination and coherence, trade and culture debate, sustainable development, WTO, GATT, GATS
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