MONS INTERNATIONAL FORUM

Mons International Forum

Cultural Exception Faced with the Challenges of the Digital World

“Cultural Exception Faced with the Challenges of the Digital World: How Can Technologies be at the Service of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions?”

In 1993, European ministers for Culture held an important meeting in Mons, Belgium, in the context of the transition to the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (better-known as GATT) and the General Agreement on Trade in Service (known as GATS). It was there that they recognized the need to defend the cultural exception, which later was enshrined in the Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions being adopted in 2005 at UNESCO. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary, at a time when the digital revolution upsets the modes of cultural creation and distribution, it is most timely to conduct an assessment and consider prospects.

The Government of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels and the Mons 2015 Foundation organized in Mons, European Capital of Culture in 2015, an international forum to commemorate this event and rekindle «the Spirit of Mons» in the digital age with the participation of Ms. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, Ms. Michaëlle Jean, General Secretary of the International Organization of La Francophonie, ministers, renowned artists and civil society representatives from developed and developing countries.

The Mons Forum had the ambition to confirm the principles of the Convention’s technological neutrality, the bedrock of cultural exception, and explore the available tools to implement them. The Declaration adopted at the Forum has been signed by Youssou N’Dour, Gilberto Gil, Costa Gavras, Nabil Ayouch, Thierry Michel, Abderrahmane Sissako, Jaco Van Dormael and the many other participants. It is open to signatures.

To read the Declaration (in French), click here.

 

 

 

 

November 18, 2015
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