Press Release
March 19, 2011

Legarda urges Malacañang to Sign UNESCO Convention
on Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities and a staunch advocate of the preservation of cultural heritage, has appealed to Malacañang for the latter to sign the United NationsEducational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Legarda explained that the Convention is a legally-binding international agreement that recognizes the importance of traditional knowledge, knowledge systems of indigenous peoples and its positive contribution to sustainable development. It also encourages artists, cultural professionals, practitioners and citizens worldwide to create, produce, disseminate and enjoy a broad range of cultural goods, services and activities.

"The Convention was adopted in 2005 and entered into force as early as 2007. The speed of its entry clearly showed the urgency and political commitment for action by the international community."

"With 116 state parties to date, the Philippines should follow suit and make cultural preservation as one of the country's priorities," Legarda stressed.

"By not being a state party to this Convention, we have been missing out on the opportunity to access the International Fund for Cultural Diversity, a fund which could have supported activities geared towards the strengthening of institutional infrastructure and cultural industries, mapping of our cultural communities, funding for research and education, and the preservation of our dying art forms, among others," Legarda emphasized.

"The International Fund was created for the promotion of sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing and least developed countries through the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector."

"UNESCO recognizes that culture can no longer be a by-product of development, but rather the mainspring for sustainable development. Thirty-one projects out of 250 requests for funding by state parties and international NGOs have been approved by the Convention's Intergovernmental Committee during the 1st call for applications launched in March 2010."

"I remain hopeful that Malacañang will act on this Convention with dispatch and join in the efforts to protect Philippine contemporary art as well as the customs, handicrafts, and way of life of our more than 110 ethno-linguistic groups all over the country," Legarda concluded.

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