Diversity of Cultural Expressions

The adoption of the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (hereinafter referred to as "the Convention") at the 33rd session of the General Conference of UNESCO in 2005, was a milestone in an international cultural policy. Through this historic agreement, the global community formally recognised the dual nature, both cultural and economic, of contemporary cultural expressions produced by artists and cultural professionals. Shaping the design and implementation of policies and measures that support the creation, production, distribution of and access to cultural goods and services, the Convention is at the heart of the creative economy. The cultural and creative industries are among the fastest growing sectors in the world. With an estimated global worth of 4.3 trillion USD per year, the culture sector now accounts for 6.1% of the global economy. The cultural and creative industries have become essential for inclusive economic growth, reducing inequalities and achieving the goals set out in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Based on human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Convention ultimately provides a new framework for informed, transparent and participatory systems of governance for culture.

Lithuania ratified the Convention in 2006 and was elected twice as a member of the Intergovernmental Committee (2007–2011 and 2013–2017working under the authority of the Conference of Parties to promote and implement the Convention. Twenty-four Parties from all regions of the world, elected for a four-year term by the Conference of Parties, meet on an annual basis to ensure the implementation of the Convention. On the request of the Conference of Parties, the Intergovernmental Committee can also develop and revise operational guidelines.

The International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) is a multi-donor fund established under the Article 18 of the Convention. Its purpose is to promote sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries that are Parties to the Convention. Lithuania as the State Party to the Convention voluntarily donates to the Fund by giving at least 1% of its annual UNESCO contribution (ex. in 2019 – 2305 USD, 2013 – 6856,92 USD). Since 2010, the IFCD has provided more than US$ 8 million in funding for 114 projects in 58 developing countries.

Information sharing and transparency stands at the heart of the Convention. Upon ratification, countries commit to submit every four years periodic reports on the policies and measures they have adopted, and challenges encountered in implementing the Convention. These reports are key instruments for civil society to engage with government officials in assessing progress made to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions. Lithuania submitted its periodic reports in 2012 and 2016. The data on the implemented measures and good practices from the periodic reports submitted by 102 State Parties since 2012 are displayed on the Policy Monitoring Platform (ref. reported data by Lithuania).

Since 2015, every two or three years UNESCO publishes Global Report series analyzing trends, identifying challenges and providing examples of innovative policies to promote the diversity of cultural expressions. The Global Report series provide a framework to support governments and civil society in the design of evidence-based policies.