IFLA Participates in the Fifteenth Session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression
08 February 2022
The 15th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will be held online from 8 to 11 February 2022.
IFLA will attend the 15th session of the Committee as a civil society observer. This means a representative will have the opportunity to take the floor and share input on the items being discussed. As libraries help uphold the cultural rights of their communities, participating in statutory meetings of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is an important aspect of IFLA’s engagement with UNESCO.
On the Agenda
The Intergovernmental Committee will be discussing several topics which may be of interest to IFLA and the global library field. In general, IFLA has an interest in initiatives that may result in greater opportunities to highlight the role that libraries have in promoting and providing access to diverse expressions of culture.
Recognising Cultural Institutions and Organisations
The Intergovernmental Committee will examine preliminary reflections undertaken by UNESCO to recognise and encourage the efforts made by cultural institutions and organisations to provide access to a diversity of cultural expressions.
In this reflection, UNESCO has included institutions which specialise in disseminating and distributing cultural goods and services, and IFLA was delighted to see that libraries were included:
Their practices, which are often innovative particularly with regard to dissemination of and access to culture, make them strategic allies in achieving the objectives of the 2005 Convention.
The annex of this report includes one example from the library field. It highlights how a library, exemplified by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandrina, Egypt, can act as “a centre of excellence in the production and dissemination of knowledge and a place of dialogue, learning and understanding between cultures and peoples”.
Read the full working document here: Preliminary reflections undertaken by UNESCO to recognise and encourage the efforts made by cultural institutions and organisations to provide access to a diversity of cultural expressions.
IFLA will address the Intergovernmental Committee on this item to welcome future initiatives that recognise and encourage greater collaboration with cultural institutions like libraries. We will also suggest that the committee reflect on the scope of institutions to include in such initiatives, taking into account those working at all levels.
Involvement of Civil Society
IFLA, together with a coalition of other civil society organisations working on matters relating to cultural diversity, supports efforts to strengthen involvement of civil society in the 2005 Convention.
The UNESCO Secretariat will highlight efforts they have made to facilitate dialogue amongst civil society organisations and parties to the Convention. This includes highlighting the 3rd Civil Society Forum, held in May 2021, in which IFLA took an active role organising.
The Intergovernmental Committee will discuss ways in which this cooperation can be strengthened. IFLA will identify opportunities to involve our network more with UNESCO in this area of its competency and highlight the role that libraries play in implementing the 2005 Convention.
Meeting of the Bureau with Civil Society
To enhance the presence of civil society voices, UNESCO organised a meeting on 7 February between civil society observers and the Bureau of the Fifteenth Session of the Intergovernmental Committee.
IFLA actively participated in this meeting, taking the floor to share our input on the preliminary reflections undertaken by UNESCO to recognise and encourage the efforts made by cultural institutions and organisations to provide access to a diversity of cultural expressions.