Special and Differential Treatment: The Legitimacy of a Cultural Dialectic

Teresa Thorp
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By elevating safeguards for cultural diversity to the position of a ‘common heritage of humanity’, the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity embodies the first normative instrument in which culture is inseparable from ‘universal, indivisible and interdependent’ human rights. At its heart is the pivotal transition from the recognition of cultural liberties to the expression of cultural pluralism as an integral part of human dignity. Policies for the inclusion and participation of all citizens are hereafter ‘guarantees of social cohesion’ for both present and future generations.

The questions raised by this relationship are broad and complex. How will international law reflect cultural pluralism? Should the law provide for Special and Differential Treatment of cultural rights? If so, then how do cultural exceptions complement the role of Special and Differential Treatment in international economic law? This article addresses these questions. It puts forward the idea of applying an external dialectic in international economic law to rebalance inequalities. In addition, the discourse explores a practical example of legitimizing a ‘cultural dialectic’ for Special and Differential Treatment.

Keywords: International Development Law, Trade, Culture
Stream: Cultural Sustainability
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Special and Differential Treatment

Teresa Thorp

Principal, Insight International, Insight International

Teresa Thorp consults in international development and trade. She has a 20-year background in ICT services trade, of which 10 years has been spent at an executive level in global markets. She holds tertiary qualifications in telecommunications (NZCE), commerce and management (BCM), economics (PGDipCom), law (LLB. Hons), international business (MBA, Duke), and international trade law and development (DEA, Université René Descartes, Paris V). Teresa is a doctoral candidate at the Centre de Droit International, Européen et Comparé (Paris V), where her interests reside in the specialist area of international trade law, development, and human rights. Her current research focuses on Special and Differential Treatment and trade justice for developing countries, notably for the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group.

Ref: S06P0253