11 Transversal Operational Guidelines as a Road towards a Diversified Networked Culture[1]

Michèle Rioux & Kim Fontaine-Skronski[2]

The digital age fundamentally transforms the domain of creation and all its dimensions, artistic, social and economic. These transformations bring opportunities and risks for the diversity of cultural expressions, whether we consider the issue of fully benefiting from opportunities inherent to the digital age or the capacity of actors to face the challenges it brings at the national and international levels in the cultural domain. The implementation of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE)[3] in the digital age allows States to find answers and modes of action (measures, policies or others) that can produce the required institutional environment for the digital revolution to become a genuine vector of innovation in the promotion and protection of the diversity of cultural expressions.

While the CDCE is not the only tool available, it remains a very important instrument of global cultural governance in the digital era, but one that needs to adapt and adjust to the digital age, in order for Parties to develop strategies aiming towards a “networked culture”. The technological neutrality of the CDCE makes no doubt, but it has seemed necessary to go one step further by elaborating operational guidelines (OGs) on the digital issue that could impact on the normative body of the Convention and its modes of implementation. More importantly, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) must, as an international organization, develop a proactive strategy for a networked culture that recognizes and reaffirms its leadership within the larger cultural governance in the digital age.

In this chapter, we argue that opportunities linked to the digital revolution and the deployment of broadband Internet networks are numerous, but threats are real and significant, especially with regards to the financing and monetization of online cultural content in a context of technological convergence, trade liberalization, and economic concentration. This is why public policies and international cooperation must play a major role to enable these opportunities to translate into real gains for the diversity of cultural expressions, as well as to counter threats and maximize benefits inherent to the transformations induced by digital technologies. Our research is based on a scientific review of available literature and of official documents published by UNESCO and other international organizations, as well as on the conduct of interviews and data collected through an online survey that was sent to various professionals and experts of the cultural sector.[4]

This chapter has three sections. The first one discusses the transformations linked to digital technologies and introduces five processes (deterritorialization, desintermediation, delinearization, dematerialization, decompartmentalization) that structure a set of opportunities and threats translating into challenges for collective action. The second part concerns good practices in the form of policies or strategies. Finally, the third section addresses the question of the implementation of the CDCE in the digital era.

I – The Digital Era and its Impacts

From our survey, we found that: 73,6% of participants think that the digital era affects cultural goods and services in all dimensions (creation, production, dissemination, distribution, accessibility, and education); 54% considered that the digital revolution has a positive impact on the diversity of cultural expressions; and 86,7% of participants coming from developed countries identified distribution/diffusion as the dimension affected the most by digital technologies, while 75% of those from developing countries identified creation/production as the most affected dimension. These results testify to the tremendous impact of the digital era on cultural industries and to the opportunities and threats for the diversity of cultural expressions.

Three other results from our survey pinpoint that we should be worried about the risks of digital cultural divides and attentive to possibilities of a technological leap allowing for a rapid development of cultural and creative industries. These three results are: 73% of participants considered the increase of supply of foreign cultural products as more important than the growth of supply of local content; 85% of those who did not notice a growth in the supply of foreign cultural content were from Europe or North America; and 63% of participants from developed countries noticed an increase in international outreach for cultural goods and services of their countries.

The transformations induced by digital technologies and networks are indeed significant. We distinguish five processes/challenges that we call the 5Ds: deterritorialization, delinearization, desintermediation, dematerialization and decompartmentalization. The positive and negative impacts of the 5Ds are summarized in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1. The 5Ds of the digital era: Positive and negative impacts for the diversity of cultural expressions


Opportunities for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Risks for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Dematerialization: we no longer pay for the ownership of a cultural good but for accessing content through Internet services

Greater diversity, accessibility and affordability of cultural products.

Reduction of access inequalities (possibility to reach dispersed and far away publics).

Facilitation of exchanges and sharing as well as more rapid modes of delivery.

Interoperability and interconnection of networks facilitating access.

Decreasing financial means dedicated to creation and renewal of talent because of piracy and free sharing (see, for example, HADOPI 2014; IFPI 2014).

Increasing rent for Internet access providers, possibility of dominant position and abuses from Internet access providers dominating the value chain (see, for example, Ichbiah 2013).

Marginalization of certain populations who do not have access to services and networks.

Desintermediation: weakening of traditional intermediaries

Direct relationship between creator/producer and consumer.

Creation of new forms of participative financing, enabling the emergence of original or challenging projects (See, for example, Iordanova & Cunningham 2012).

Imbalances between proprietary and sharing economies.

Possibilities of reintermediation by actors benefiting from dominant positions based on networks and innovation effects allowing them to control the distribution of certain products.

Emergence of new intermediaries (platforms, search engines, etc.) playing essential roles in access to content (organizing and managing content access, etc.) (Benghozi 2011; Garside 2014; Forum d’Avignon 2014; and Conseil d’État Français 2014).

Decompartmentalization: technological convergence and disappearance of frontiers between traditional sectors

Emergence of a wide set of tools for creation and exhibition as well as new artistic forms.

Increasing accessibility of content on the web.

New business models.

Regulatory asymmetries between different sectors.

Legal and economic uncertainties.

Delinearization: end of top-down programing by the media

Potential end of mass culture and beginning of a culture of niches: multiplication of contents.

The Long Tail: longer life cycle of rare and fragile cultural products.

Amplification of processes of concentration, standardization and marketization (Internet economic superpowers controlling data and networks).


Facilitation of international cultural and artistic exchanges.

Greater choice of cultural content.

Problems of effectiveness of national policies regarding regulations, fiscal systems, property rights regimes, etc.

Problems in the general economic organization of the financing of creation.

Opportunities are numerous and increasingly recognized.[5] However, certain actions can have a multiplier effect allowing for greater benefits in terms of the diversity of cultural expressions. Threats are also real, especially when it comes to questions related to financing and monetization of cultural products and the production and distribution of diversified contents. There are also legal and economic uncertainties inherent to the industrial re-combinations linked to the process of sector convergence and to the proliferation of trade agreements affecting cultural industries. Many participants to our survey noted a process of industrial concentration and new cultural digital divides. In developed, as in developing and emerging economies, the conclusions on this are the same, since the digital era is inherently global and transnational.

Different priorities must be taken into consideration though. In developing countries, Internet and the digital world can be powerful vectors of changes leading up to a technological leap. However, risks of new digital divides are also present since those countries are usually the ones facing the greatest imbalances between local and international contents. Considering the rapid deployment of digital technology and services, both developing and developed countries must begin to integrate the digital component in their cultural policies and international cooperation efforts in this area. The concrete consequences of not establishing strategies or the failure to politically adapt to the digital age would include a loss in economic growth, increased social and cultural inequalities at the national and international levels, the depletion of the world’s cultural heritage, and the marginalization of some countries in cyberspace.

In this context, where the technological environment becomes a potentially powerful vector of creative diversity, there is hope for developing countries to win the visibility battle by promoting online access for their cultural goods and services and, therefore, increasing their participation in the global market. Yet, it is also crucial to creatively adapt technology to local contexts (Kiyindou 2013). Moreover, to foster a technological catch-up, policies and regulatory frameworks must support and be adapted to the digital environment and the challenges of the 5Ds. Many communities and populations in the world are still deprived of Internet connection, as emphasized by the Global Internet Report of the Internet Society (ISOC 2014). Constraints that block the cultural value chain in developing countries are also often linked to a lack of public support, adequate regulatory frameworks and long-term strategic visions, the inadequate training of actors and cultural professionals, and the lack of investment and funding available for cultural industries.

These various difficulties, obstacles and constraints require a motivating dynamic that will ensure that the digital era is supportive of the diversity of cultural expressions and the development of a creative world economy, respectful of creators of all countries, and especially in developing countries. Institutions are beginning to adopt digital strategies. These are critical for the performance of both developing and developed countries. That is why it is important to share good practices that can instruct the process of developing “2.0 cultural policies”.

II – Cultural Policies and Practices

According to our survey, the development of policies aimed at ensuring international outreach of local cultural content is at the forefront of the measures identified by respondents for the “promotion” of the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital era. Some States are already implementing cultural policies that integrate digital technologies or have adopted digital strategies that include a cultural component. However, there is still a lot to be done in most countries to take full advantage of the digital revolution and adapt cultural policies.[6] Beyond infrastructure development, States are expected to adopt policies that support the production and dissemination of digital cultural content.

The importance of the digital content industry and of mobile applications should also be reflected in developing countries’ economic development strategies. Indeed, according to our survey, publication and online consultation of cultural and artistic content is at the forefront of digital practices that might influence the diversity of cultural expressions the most. For some, the digital era marks the end of protectionism and the victory of globalization as it breaks most remaining barriers, including those created by policies to protect cultural industries.[7] For others, it is an opportunity to rethink policies and adapt regulations in the face of dramatic changes (Guèvremont et al. 2013; Beaudoin 2014). These divergent analyses point to the fact that there is little consensus on the way we understand these transformations and on the way to respond to the challenges of the digital era in the cultural field. One fact is clear though: States are increasingly confronted to new issues and challenges related to the integration of digital technologies in many policy areas (Lescure 2014). The digital ecosystem does not spontaneously generate diversified cultural expressions, and it can even be, in certain conditions, an obstacle to it. It may signify the loss, for States, of policy-making prerogatives in the cultural domain. States, supported by international organizations, must, in such conditions, intervene to implement appropriate measures and policies.

Public policies and international cooperation in the field of culture need, therefore, to be revisited in order to adapt to new digital challenges. Culture is also a fertile ground for the emergence of new practices that demonstrate the capacity of actors to adapt to the digital environment. Recognizing that the implementation of the CDCE must rely on the spread of best practices[8] in the digital age, our previous study highlighted what is happening on the ground in terms of projects, initiatives and digital practices in the field of culture. The next table summarizes some of the best practices we identified.

Table 1.2. Summary of Good Cultural Practices in the Digital Era


Example of best practices by Countries/States and Civil Society/Firms

Articulation of cultural and digital strategies

Countries/States: France numérique 2012-2020 (France); Digital Agenda for Norway (Norway); Estrategia Digital Nacional (Mexico); Stratégie culturelle numérique Québec (Québec, Canada); Book Revitalization (Tunisia); Política Cultura 2011-2016 (Chile); Plan national TIC (Bénin).

Sharing platforms of content and cultural information

Countries/States: La Fabrique culturelle, Télé-Québec (Canada), Cinema Digitaal BV (Netherlands), Networks of residences (Portugal), ONF.CA (Canada)

Civil Society/Firms: HALLYU (South Korea); Kheweul.com (Senegal); Last.fm (UK); Musiquenomade.com (Canada).

Virtual library and museum collections

Countries/States: Europeana; Digital library Colombia; Cancionero discográfico de cuecas chilenas.

Civil Society/Firms: Conte-moi la Francophonie; Google Art Project (UNESCO); Nouvelles Editions Numériques Africaines (NENA) (Senegal).

Education, public awareness and capacity building of cultural actors

Countries/States: Points NAC (Argentina); MatrizPCI (Portugal); MEC (Uruguay); Collaboration Slovenia/University Hérat (Afghanistan); Banque mondiale d’images (Danemark/Mali).

Civil Society/Firms: Thydêwa (Brazil); Arts Network (Mongolia); ONG IRIPAZ (Guatemala).

Networking actors

Countries/States: Sudplanète; Fondation européenne de la Culture (FEC); Culturessud.com (France); Qantara.de (Germany)

Civil Society/Firms: Labforculture.org; Ci*Diguente; ONG Kër Thiossane.

Corporate social responsibility

Vivendi; Disney; CBS, Time Warner, BBC.

Several States have already begun the process of adapting their cultural policies in the era of digital technologies, in the North and in the South. Projects initiated by civil society and identified in our study provide further benchmarks for other organizations wishing to develop their digital cultural strategies. Despite these initiatives, it is clear that there is still much to be done. How may these best practices inspire the adaptation of existing cultural policies and the development of new measures? What might a “2.0 cultural policy” look like?

The challenge here is not to question all mechanisms, measures and instruments in existing public cultural policies, but to distinguish between those which can be adapted to the digital age from those which become obsolete. Another challenge is to design and create new policies and innovative modes of support for creators and cultural industries so that they can deal with the digital upheaval, while, on the other hand, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by new technologies. Political authorities are called to rethink their ways.

The adoption of 2.0 cultural policies requires strong political will to support creators, producers and delivery networks of digital cultural content. It also means artistic education on digital creation, capacity-building of digital skills of cultural actors, as well as public awareness. Authorities in charge of culture must also ensure that the major digital distribution platforms make plenty of room for local and national works in the countries where they operate. Furthermore, cooperation and international solidarity must strive to enable countries, especially developing countries, to create and strengthen their cultural and creative industries through the use of digital technologies at the local, national and international levels. Information-sharing and equitable access to a wide range of diverse cultural expressions, as well as the means to express and disseminate them using digital technologies, are key objectives for a 2.0 cultural policy.

Moreover, cultural industries that used to work in silos are increasingly being intertwined in the digital age, resulting in an increasingly networked culture. The divisions traditionally held between areas of government intervention are also gradually fading. Some elements observed in recent cultural policy according to the five traditional cultural areas of intervention – access/consumption; creation/production; distribution/dissemination; training/capacity building; and education/public awareness – and the costs and benefits associated with each, are exposed below (Table 1.3). To counter the negative effects of new technologies in the cultural sector and create a synergy favorable to the diversity of cultural expressions, it is important to encourage dialogue and coherence, at both national and international levels, between cultural policies and those relating to digital development, trade, tax measures, as well as the regulation of telecommunications and the Internet. The networking of the various ministries involved would be a way to promote coherence and create a synergy of public policies affecting the development of cultural industries.

Table 1.3. Benefits and Costs of Different Types of Measures Susceptible to be Integrated into a 2.0 Cultural Policy

Axes of Intervention


Possible Benefits and Costs



Virtual and digital infrastructure programs (broadband, XP Points, Internet access).

Digital cultural information-sharing platforms (e.g. ArtSAnow, Espagna es cultura, SinCA, Cultures online project).

Virtual libraries and museums.

Benefits: Digital technologies become a vector of economic and cultural development; Exponential dissemination of cultural contents, cultural and artistic reach across borders.

Costs: Resources and funding deviated toward technological infrastructure projects; Increased risk of pirating databases; risk of losing access to non-digital forms of art



Support for creators of digital arts and producers of online content.

Grants programs to encourage interdisciplinarity and innovation.

Support for online publishers and new business models.

Benefits: Avoid the gradual withdrawal of funds for the creation of cultural content; Encourage the emergence of new talent and new forms of creation; Development of new programs and new expertise.

Costs: Risk of redirecting funds away from traditional cultural goods and services.

Distribution/ Dissemination

Digital platforms for audio-visual cultural content (e.g. La Fabrique culturelle project, Cinema Digitaal BV, Festival Ars Electronica).

New regulatory measures that include private broadcasters.

Revised tax measures.

Benefits: Increased access to cultural content; Develop new sources of funding; Engage a wider range of players.

Costs: Complexified negotiations on copyrights issues; Increased transnationality of issues; Conflicting national laws; Cost associated with the development of technological expertise.

Training/ Capacity-Building

Residency programs for visiting artists.

Co-production agreements for digital works.

Cultural cooperation agreements strengthening digital capabilities.

Benefits: Reduce the digital divide; Facilitate information-sharing on best innovative practices.

Costs: Resources and funding diverted to specific programs on technical assistance; Transition costs of expertise transfers and skills upgrading.


Public Awareness

Digitalization of library and museum collections (e.g. Google Art Project in partnership with UNESCO).

Development of technological skills.

Development of multi-stakeholder networks.

Benefits: Increased communication between actors; Public to take ownership of new technologies and develop new practices.

Costs: Related to the development and management of virtual collections; and the negotiation of cooperation agreements and partnerships.

III – Bringing the CDCE in the Digital Age

The five challenges posed by digital technologies oblige us to find new tools to analyse and measure the new realities taking shape in order to reach a diagnosis of the situation that can thereafter allow for building the necessary consensus for collective action. Another priority consists in creating new international diplomatic processes to help articulate three distinct worlds (trade, culture and Internet) that have, so far, evolved separately. On the basis of these two priorities, a third one concerns the adoption of a pro-active approach, or the definition of a genuine digital strategy, based on emerging best practices that could inspire the development of 2.0 cultural policies and enhance international cooperation centred around the Convention[9] and UNESCO within the global governance of cultural goods and services in the digital age.

The CDCE remains an indispensable tool for the digital era, but UNESCO’s challenge is to seize the opportunity offered by new technologies to position itself on the international stage as a proactive player in the development, implementation and sharing of best practices developed and implemented by different actors seeking to adapt to a new cultural world. Already, Parties to the Convention have adopted several operational guidelines (OGs) that integrate the digital context. Table 1.4 provides a summary of the articles of the Convention for which there are already operational guidelines, as well as our observations on how well they incorporate digital issues.

Table 1.4. Existing Operational Guidelines – account for digital issues



Articles 7, 8, 17 Measures to promote and protect cultural expressions

While these guidelines incorporate digital issues, there remains a lack of information on best practices in this new context, which is especially important for developing countries.

Article 9

Information Sharing and Transparency

These OGs provide an easy access to the CDCE Parties’ reports through digital platforms and websites; co-develop indicators to measure the impact of digital technologies; and integrate, in the Parties’ reports, measures showing the importance of digital technologies in cultural policies.

Article 10

Education and Public Awareness

These guidelines incorporate digital issues. We should emphasize here the role of social media and Web 2.0 tools in the efforts of public awareness.

Article 11

Participation of civil society

These guidelines do not mention how digital technologies could be used to increase the participation of civil society.

Article 13

Integration of culture in sustainable development

These guidelines only partially integrate digital issues.

Article 14

Cooperation for development

These guidelines incorporate digital issues.

Article 15

Collaborative arrangements

While these guidelines incorporate digital issues, information-sharing on partnerships could allow for the establishment of a database that may contain sections dedicated to digital partnerships.

Article 16

Preferential treatment for developing countries

These guidelines incorporate digital issues.

Article 18

International Fund for Cultural Diversity

These guidelines do not include digital technologies in the Fund’s operating principles and objectives. Specific calls for projects on the development of innovative digital cultural services could be launched.

Article 19

Exchange, Analysis and Dissemination of information

These guidelines partly integrate digital issues. Should also be mentioned: issues on Open Data, transparency in data collection processes, and cooperation with companies that detain Big Data.

Our research points to the important role that transversal guidelines on the implementation of the CDCE in the digital era should have in helping develop a new approach and enable actors to create a positive, coherent and efficient digital ecosystem, including for the implementation of those provisions that are not currently addressed by operation guidelines. Cross-cutting operational guidelines on digitalization should allow Parties to recognize the technological neutrality of the Convention[10] and express their commitment in elaborating measures, strategies and initiatives that fully integrate digital technologies in support of the creation, production, distribution, dissemination and access to cultural activities, goods and services (Gensollen 2012). Parties should be encouraged to update their public policies as well as their commitments to international cooperation in the digital era. Figure 1.1 summarizes our proposals for transversal operational guidelines in the digital context.

Figure 1.1. Proposals for transversal Operational Guidelines in the digital context.

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 18.12.11


To this end, it is necessary to first examine the means States have, at the national level, to adapt their cultural policies or adopt new ones, in order to achieve the objectives of the Convention in the digital age. The dematerialization of cultural goods and services challenges the principle of “territoriality” upon which rest current cultural policies. Article 6 of the CDCE on the rights of Parties at the national level is of particular concern here. The best way forward is to develop a best practices guide on the application of the principles and objectives of the Convention in the digital age and invite Parties to transmit information on their digital cultural policies and measures, showing how States apply the principles and objectives of the CDCE to account for the changes brought about by new technologies.

Moreover, such guidelines could help develop platforms of aggregated content for national distribution, and contribute to enhancing the visibility and sustainability of audio-visual cultural works. They could also lead to policies that take into account the increased importance for the Parties to develop policies that focus on the empowerment of civil society and cultural enterprises (article 11). In addition, they should incorporate measures that strengthen international cooperation based on a multi-stakeholder approach and the new models of governance that are taking shape, such as those involved in Internet regulation, allowing for the CDCE to be increasingly part of an institutional architecture that is becoming more and more diverse. Finally, they should act as an incentive for Parties to cope with the challenges posed by digital technologies and entice them to promote the objectives of the Convention in other relevant fora (articles 21 and 23).

On the question of international cooperation, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Our survey established that 64% of respondents are dissatisfied altogether with this aspect of the implementation of the Convention. This was also evidenced when we asked respondents to evaluate the efforts toward international cooperation: 43% believe them to be weak, 19% found them to be average and only 12% think they are strong. Other results from our survey underline the role and importance played by international organizations for successfully implementing the Convention. Indeed, respondents point toward WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) as the most important organizations for collaboration with UNESCO. Moreover, it is generally considered that UNESCO should especially work with the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) on the issues of access to cultural contents and technical assistance for development

The June 2015 Conference of Parties (CoP), marking the 10th anniversary of the CDCE, brought the Parties together to discuss how the Convention can unleash the positive potential of the digital era while countering its inherent threats. Despite the fact that new operational guidelines were not a prerequisite for actors to find ways to adapt to digital technologies, the CoP endorsed such an idea to promote the implementation of the CDCE in the digital environment and those guidelines are to be defined in the following months. It will be important to set the stage for this process to occur in very pragmatic and strategic terms.

The digital challenge transcends national frontiers and should gather energies around the promotion and protection of the diversity of cultural expressions in a transversal way. UNESCO is the legitimate forum to engage such action and to mobilize the international community, and the CDCE must be the central tool used to this end. Technological mutations do not undermine the founding principles or the concrete implementation of the Convention. They offer, conversely, the opportunity to confirm its usefulness and to enrich its content through the use of new digital tools, and ultimately to reaffirm the pioneering role of UNESCO on the matter (Musitelli 2014: 307) and to enhance its credibility amongst other multilateral organizations.


Our research has led to four conclusions. Firstly, the Convention is a legitimate instrument to address the impact of digital technologies on the diversity of cultural expressions. Secondly, the Convention is neutral on the digitalization issue as it seeks the promotion and protection of the diversity of cultural expressions irrespective of the technologies used. Thirdly, the digital era is a new environment that requires new measures and new policies. Fourthly, these measures and policies should enable States and cultural actors to enjoy the opportunities offered by new technologies for the diversity of cultural expressions while providing them with tools to overcome the challenges that have been identified above.

Threats resulting from the 5Ds are obvious: among them, the loss, for national States, of benchmarks and instruments of public cultural policy. Businesses operate in a different world than the one regulated by existing national policies and regulations, and this calls for the “rethinking” of the national regulatory space. A re-articulation of the links between the two is necessary if States want to adopt effective instruments of public policy in the digital era. But how can policy instruments be adjusted on national territories in order to create room for manoeuvre without favouring fragmentation of the Internet? The threat becomes twofold: to cut ourselves from the world by erecting barriers that may turn against us, or be open to cross-border flows without taking adequate measures to ensure the presence and visibility of diversified cultural works.

Digital culture has transformed the world of culture into a “networked” environment, linking numerous systems, several forms of content on many different supporting devices and networks, and diverse communities. Ongoing changes go beyond the technological dimension; they are geographical, economic, social, political and human. It is our relationship to the world that is changing, individually and collectively. In an increasingly transnational context, the current institutional structure, comprehending distinct private and public facets, gives way to “global governance”, i.e. a mode of governance based on networks of private and public actors within which States and UNESCO must find their place.


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  1. This chapter is based on a study conducted on behalf of the Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international (MAEDI) and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (MCC) of France in 2015 (Rioux et al. 2015). A short version of this study, in English, is available online. The opinions expressed in these pages belong solely to the authors and do not constitute the official position of the French government. We wish to thank the professionals of the cultural sector, the digital technology actors and all the experts in France, Canada and abroad who accepted to contribute to this study by providing information and who responded to our survey. The authors are also grateful to Hughes Brisson, Guy-Philippe Wells, Felipe Verdugo, François St-Amant, David Regimbal, and Destiny Tchéhouali.
  2. Michèle Rioux is Professor of Political Science at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in Canada and Director of the Centre for the Study of Integration and Globalization (CEIM). She specializes in International Political Economy and her areas of research include international organizations, transnational firms, the information society and the telecommunications sector. Kim Fontaine-Skronski is a PhD candidate at Université Laval, Canada, and Assistant Director of the Montreal Institute of International Studies (IEIM) based at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Her research focuses on institutional design and trade negotiations. She is currently working on the trade-culture nexus in the digital age.
  3. Adopted in Paris in October 2005 and entered into force in 2007, the CDCE has been ratified by over 140 States. As an international legal instrument, the Convention asserts the specificity of cultural goods and services and the legitimacy of public intervention for protecting and promoting the diversity of cultural expressions.
  4. The survey, entitled “What do you propose for the protection and the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital era?”, was launched in September 2014. We received 147 responses of which 56% came from developed countries, while 44% were from developing countries and emerging economies.
  5. The creative economy (which brings together, inter alia, audio-visual, design, new media, performance arts, visual arts and edition) is growing importantly. In developing countries, it had an average growth of 12.1% every year from 2002 to 2011 (UNDP 2013: 10). Assuming this growth continues, it offers developing countries an opportunity to increase their participation in the global trade of cultural goods and services. It is estimated that Africa is the region where subscriptions to cell phone plans are growing the fastest, and the number of such subscriptions in developing countries is greater than that of developed countries since 2013 (ITU 2013: 6). Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have also been considered as representing a great way to spread contents in French (Attali 2014: 56).
  6. In response to our survey, 55% of respondents believed that cultural policies in their countries could be better suited to face digital challenges.
  7. Musitelli writes: « Le déploiement foudroyant de l’écosystème numérique ne remet pas seulement en cause les modes de production, les modèles économiques et les pratiques sociales relatifs à la culture. Il pose à la puissance publique dans sa fonction régulatrice une question existentielle. » (“The far reaching deployment of the digital ecosystem not only affects modes of production, economic models and social practices related to culture. It puts the public authority and its regulatory function in front of an existential dilemma.” – Musitelli 2014: 312, translated by the authors). On the same subject, John Ibbitson argues that “[i]t’s over. Globalization has won, in culture as in every other contest. Canadian cultural industries will have to compete in the marketplace along with everyone else. It’s simply a question of when the last protections are dismantled. It won’t be long.” (Ibbitson 2014).
  8. Sekhar and Steinkamp define “good practice” as “a creative and sustainable practice that provides an effective response based on the idea of direct knowledge utilisation. It enjoys potential for replication as an ‘inspirational guideline’ and can contribute to policy development. A good practice develops new and creative solutions to common problems. Its impact is visible in the improved quality of life of people and communities, while also being socially, culturally, economically and environmentally sustainable.” (Sekhar & Steinkamp 2010: 10).
  9. The Convention contains nine different articles and four operational guidelines related to international cooperation. Two are particularly important: article 21 on International Consultation and Coordination, which commits Parties to promote the objectives and principles of the CDCE in other international fora, and article 23 on the Intergovernmental Committee’s functions, including “establishing procedures and other consultation mechanisms to promote the objectives and principles of this Convention in other international fora” (article 23.6 (e) CDCE). Also worth mentioning is article 20 on “Relationship to other treaties: mutual supportiveness, complementarity and non-subordination” which was one of the most debated items during the drafting of the Convention.
  10. As stated in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) Resolution, adopted at the Dakar Summit in 2014 (OIF 2014). On this subject, see also: Beaudoin 2014; Comby 2014.

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