Protecting diversity: still room to pursue a legitimate public policy objective outside the framework of the Convention
The seventh chapter concerns treaties and agreements and analyses the extent to which Parties promote mutual supportiveness between the Convention and other treaties to which they are party, as well as the mechanisms in place to promote the objectives and principles of the Convention in other international forums. It studies the 25 free trade agreements or economic partnerships signed between 2017 and 2020 that involve at least one Party to the Convention. Two striking trends emerge. First, most new trade agreements contain provisions on e-commerce or digital trade. Second, a new generation of agreements exclusively dedicated to e-commerce is taking shape. Their impact on the diversity of cultural expressions is manifold: they may improve cultural exchanges in the digital space; reduce the digital divide between developed and developing countries; or potentially limit a Party’s right to ensure the availability, discoverability and accessibility of national and local cultural content online. None of the bilateral and regional trade agreements signed between 2017 and 2020 has included a preferential treatment provision. The newly adopted UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence is one of the 40 multilateral and regional instruments adopted during this period that refer directly to the Convention or its objectives and principles. The chapter argues for the need to create new synergies between the Convention and other frameworks or strategies in the field of intellectual property, taxation and artificial intelligence.