Friday, February 18, 2005

Cultural Convention Meeting Ends without Agreement

The UNESCO Intergovernmental meeting on the Cultural Convention ended on Friday February 11th without an agreed text.

The main issues to be resolved include the definition of 'protection,' of cultural goods and services, some countries led by the USA insisting on a definition of protection that would eliminate any possibility of using it to support trade barriers. The definition of 'cultural goods and services,’ has been referred to a future meeting. The result is that there will be a consolidated draft text that includes all of the results of the discussion and negotiation.

This draft will be circulated to the member states, intergovernmental organizations, and NGOs. This new draft will contain many clauses in which the wording is not yet agreed but is supposed to be written in such a way as to identify the major remaining differences. This draft text will be negotiated at a third intergovernmental session, scheduled for Monday, May 23rd till Saturday, June 4th. That session will have to produce a final draft text to be presented to the UNESCO General Conference in the autumn.

[Source: report based on the daily reports posted on the Mediatrademonitor website.]