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Cultural diversity at international level
Cultural diversity also applies to the external dimension of the Community action, and Article 151 requires the EC and its Member States to promote it in its international relations, as a contribution to a world order based on sustainable development, peaceful coexistence and dialogue between cultures.
With regards to international co-operation, the key provision is Article 151.3: "The Community and the Member States shall foster co-operation with third countries and the competent international organisations in the sphere of culture, in particular the Council of Europe."
The Community is involved in cultural policies and actions which require it to strengthen these aspects within its borders and in its relations with third countries and international organizations. The Community has elaborated an ambitious development policy which includes a cultural component with certain regions of the world, particularly the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region and the Mediterranean .
Furthermore, cultural diversity has become one of the major issues of the international debate taking place among international and regional organisations since 1998. A number of bodies have examined this issue: the G8 (Okinawa, 2000), the Council of Europe (Declaration on cultural diversity, December 2000), UNESCO (Universal Declaration and Action Plan on Cultural Diversity, November 2001, for which the European Community and its Member States expressed their support), the United Nations and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) through the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be held in Tunisia in 2005. Furthermore, cultural diversity has been the subject of discussions of other international and regional fora, including the civil society.
Such progressive affirmation of cultural diversity at international level is a contributing answer to growing concerns of civil society and governments regarding the preservation of cultural diversity (as a common heritage of humankind, in a similar manner to biodiversity) as well as the promotion of living cultures and creative capacity. In both dimensions, cultural diversity tends to integrate global strategies of sustainable development. Public authorities are increasingly sensitive to the need to develop intercultural dialogue, with a view to foster peace, security and stability at global level.
Finally, the EC and its Member States also defend the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity within the framework of trade negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the field of cultural and audiovisual services.
|Last update: 18-05-2006|