From our members : Fair Culture – A Key to Sustainable Development

Fair-Trade principles address poor labour standards and inequalities globally. While they have been widely implemented in several economic fields over the last decades, culture and the creative industries have too often not been part of the discussion.

This needs to change. Deeply entrenched global inequalities, additionally driven by the digital transformation and COVID-19 pandemic, are a key challenge for cultural and creative sectors, as highlighted in the 2022 UNESCO Global Report on Culture. This implies access to markets, funding opportunities, the mobility of artists and cultural professionals, and the dissemination of cultural goods and services in digital networks.

First Public Consultation on the “Fair Culture Charter”

Inspired by the Fair-Trade movement, a group of experts from all world regions is currently drafting a “Fair Culture Charter” – a reference document and guiding framework for a movement building an equitable and sustainable culture and creative sector. The aim is to apply “Fair Trade” principles, as appropriate, to culture and the creative sector.

On 6 June 2023 at UNESCO in Paris the very first public consultation on this Charter will be held. The event is organized during the Conference of Parties of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and will gather a truly global group of experts on site and offline. UNESCO Member States, their Points of Contact for the 2005 Convention, Observers, National Commissions for UNESCO, NGOs, CSOs, cultural and creative professionals and grass-roots organizations from around the world are invited to comment on the draft of this “Fair Culture Charter”. Participation will be possible in Paris, at UNESCO Headquarters, and online.

The Fair Culture Initiative – Background and the Way Forward in 2023

The German Commission for UNESCO has developed the Fair Culture initiative since 2017. With international partners the initiative wants to build a global consensus on “Fair Culture”, hence towards making international cultural cooperation, cultural partnerships, and trade in the culture and creative sector more equitable and sustainable, building on the existing legal frameworks and commitments. As recommended by the study “Fair Culture – A Key to Sustainable Development” by UNESCO Chair at University Laval in Quebec/Canada (2021) and the Side Event at UNESCO World Conference MONDIACULT in Mexico (2022)  first priority is the implementation of existing legal instruments – in particular – the 2005 UNESCO Convention and the 1980 UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of the Artist. Key recommendation and priority for 2023 is the drafting of a “Fair Culture Charter”.

International cooperation partners of the initiative and Members of the Advisory Committee for the “Fair Culture Charter” are (so far) the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD), Fairtrade International, the Ministry of Culture of France and Colombia (tbc), the National Commissions for UNESCO of Germany, Kenya and South Korea, the Goethe Institute, and the UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions at University Laval Canada. In 2022 fifteen “Young Experts for Fair Culture” from all over the world were selected to accompany the initiative with their expertise. Moreover a huge number of international experts and stakeholders are invited to comment on the draft Charter and get engaged in the process as part of the Sounding Board for the Fair Culture Charter.

If you or your organization is interested to join the efforts towards the Fair Culture Charter, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact:

German Commission for UNESCO, 2005 Convention Focal Point and Member of ECCD,

Registration for the Consultation on the “Fair Culture Charter” on 6th June at UNESCO HQ is possible via an online form until 28th May 2023.

Additional Information:

Copyright picture: CC BY 2.0 Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

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