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The G20 on Culture adopts the Rome Declaration

The first meeting devoted to Culture in the history of the G20 was held on 29-30 July in Rome and led to the unanimous adoption of the “Rome Declaration of the G20 Culture Ministers”, a 32-point document which inserts the cultural sector within the G20 process, also recognizing its economic value.

The G20 also shared the commitment to create special forces to protect cultural heritage at risk in crisis areas.

The document was examined by the Ministers and delegations of the participating Countries, together with the representatives of the main international organizations active in the cultural field, such as UNESCO, the OECD, the Council of Europe, the Union for the Mediterranean, international organizations of the cultural sector such as ICCROM, ICOM and ICOMOS, the main actors of the fight to crimes against cultural heritage such as UNODC, Interpol and the World Customs Organization (WCO), and with the direct involvement of the Youth 20, the official G20 engagement group  dedicated to the new generations.

ROME DECLARATION OF THE G20 MINISTERS OF CULTURE

Preamble

We, the G20 Culture Ministers, on the occasion of our meeting in Rome on July 29 and 30, 2021, under Italy’s 2021 Presidency of the G20; Bearing in mind the EXPO Milan Declaration of 31 July 2015 and the first joint meeting of the Ministers of Culture held on November 4, 2020, on the margins of the Saudi G20 Presidency; Concurring with the aims of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 74/230 on Culture and sustainable development adopted by the General Assembly on 19 December 2019; Taking advantage of the global momentum on policy dialogue on culture and sustainable development, reflected notably in the UNESCO Forum of Ministers of Culture, the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021 and the African Union Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage; levers for building “The Africa We Want”;

Founding principles

1. Culture and Creative Sectors as Drivers for Regeneration and Sustainable and Balanced Growth

1.1 Recalling that culture has an intrinsic value, is an essential component for human development and plays an essential role in fostering the resilience and the regeneration of our economies and our societies heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Culture is the foundation for relaunching prosperity, social cohesion and the well-being of people and communities;

1.2 Recalling that cultural and creative sectors represent important economic drivers in their own right and are a significant source of jobs and income; and that they generate important spillovers to the wider economy, being drivers of innovation and sources of creative skills, leveraging growth in other policy areas;

1.3 Recalling the importance of cultural rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other global and regional human rights instruments for effective culture-led regeneration, we acknowledge valuing human and cultural diversity, cultural access and participation and cultural dialogue as preconditions for more innovative, sustainable, cohesive, resilient, safe and inclusive societies;

1.4 Recognising the social impact of cultural and creative sectors, supporting health and well-being, promoting social inclusion, gender equality and woman’s empowerment, local social capital, amplifying behavioural change and transformation towards more sustainable production and consumption practices and contributing to the quality of the living environment, for the benefit of everyone’s quality of life;

1.5 Emphasising the importance of policies on employment, social protection, innovation and entrepreneurship considering the needs of the cultural and creative sectors, to support them through the pandemic crisis and unleash the transformative power of culture for the recovery;

2. Protection of Cultural Heritage

2.1 Recalling UNSCR 2199 (2015) and UNSCR 2347 (2017), noting that destruction and illicit trafficking of cultural property are serious crimes and a threat to international peace and security;

2.2 Underlining the importance of common and coordinated research and action to strengthen the safeguarding and promotion of cultural diversity and cultural heritage in all forms, movable, immovable, tangible, intangible and digital, including Indigenous peoples and local communities’ art, languages and cultural practices and expressions, for the benefit of future generations;

2.3 Recognising that all threats to cultural resources, including looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property and threats to intellectual property, the destruction or misuse of cultural heritage and traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples and local communities, uncontrolled urban and regional development, environmental degradation, events caused by climate change, may result in the loss of irreplaceable cultural assets. This disrupts socio-cultural practices, infringing on human and cultural rights of peoples and communities, affecting cultural diversity and depriving people and local communities of precious sources of meaning, identity, knowledge, resilience and economic benefits;

2.4 Recognising the contributions of transnational concerted actions and public-private collaborations to better protect and ensure more efficient and sustainable risk management of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, in the framework of the Sendai Framework Agreement for Disaster Risk Reduction;

2.5 Recognising that effective risk prevention benefits from the integration of cultural considerations, including conservation principles and standards, environmental and social safeguards, accessibility and inclusion in all policies with potential impact on culture and cultural heritage;

2.6 Recognising the need for strengthening and developing effective, sustainable, inclusive and coordinated management models and tools for protecting cultural heritage at risk, by linking short-term relief, maintenance and preventive conservation with longer-term measures and by combining the skills and competences of civil protection and cultural heritage actors, sustained by public awareness-raising initiatives;

3. Addressing Climate Change through Culture

3.1 Concerned about the increase in frequency and intensity of hazardous events linked to climate change and their impact on cultural heritage;

3.2 Acknowledging that culture, including intangible and tangible cultural heritage, creativity, Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ languages, wisdom and knowledge systems and traditional crafts and materials, especially those used by Indigenous and local women, offer great potential to drive climate action and sustainable development and contribute meaningfully to climate solutions. Culture-led mitigation, adaptation and cultural considerations can leverage Action for Climate Empowerment towards an inclusive and sustainable, prosperous climate and nature-positive future, taking into account different national circumstances and contributing to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

3.3 Recognising the importance of enshrining climate action more firmly within cultural policies, including by supporting cultural activities that highlight and address climate issues and welcoming the efforts of all relevant international and intergovernmental bodies, in particular UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOM, ICOMOS, in ensuring a more robust anchoring of culture within the UNFCCC and other global endeavours on climate action and in national policies and plans;

4. Building Capacity through Training and Education

4.1 Recognising the need to strengthen synergies between culture and education to bridge current skills gaps and to improve the recognition of qualifications and competences. Underlining the need to enable cultural and creative professionals with new capabilities, including creative, digital, technological, managerial, accessibility-related, mediation and environmental to overcome the deep uncertainties of the post-COVID-19 operating landscape and contribute to building more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies and economies;

4.2 Recognising the importance of engaging the younger generations, and persons belonging to Indigenous and local communities in the safeguarding and preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, including by investing in education, training, awareness-raising and the creation of sustainable jobs, thus enabling culture-led regeneration processes;

4.3 Recognising the benefits of better connecting scientific, educational and professional systems, to promote inclusiveness, intergenerational transmission of knowledge and multi- disciplinarity and to facilitate cross-functionality and synergies between cultural, social, environmental and economic decision-making and policies. Emphasising the need to integrate cultural education and training across disciplines and sectors to ensure culture-based methods and approaches are deployed in wider contexts;

4.4 Recognising the vital ability of culture to innovate and nourish nations and societies by expanding investment in cultural R&D for the convergence of humanities, science, technologies, culture, art and creativity;

4.5 Highlighting the role of cultural heritage education and interpretation to promote the appreciation of and respect for cultural diversity, for cultural heritages meanings and for living cultural traditions and knowledge, facilitating the conservation, safeguarding and transmission of shared values and know-how to future generations;

4.6 Recognising the role of museums, libraries, archives, cultural heritage monuments and sites, conservation institutes, universities, cultural and creative hubs and persons belonging to Indigenous and local communities and other cultural institutions as key to developing education and learning by fully understanding the inclusive interpretation and conveyance of culture and cultural heritage and connecting local actions with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development goals;

5. Digital Transition and New Technologies for Culture

5.1 Recognising the growing importance of the digital environment in the transmission of cultural and creative content, where digital transformation is a driving force for the development of cultural and creative sectors, enabling access to new audiences, promoting diversity and inclusion, fostering cross-cultural knowledge production and transfer as well as the development of global cultural markets;

5.2 Recognising the importance of creating a healthy and safe digital ecosystem, that includes safeguards to protect users from risks posed by disinformation, misinformation, hate speech and online harm; fosters the creation and promotion of diverse linguistic and cultural content, information and news online; and tackles online piracy, while also granting safeguards for fair remuneration of creators and performers and preserving their rights, including artistic freedom;

5.3 Stressing the need to overcome digital divides that have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling access to culture through digital tools supported by media and information literacy training, with consideration for the intellectual property rights of creators and performers of cultural content;

5.4 Acknowledging that culture and cultural heritage benefit from innovation in the most advanced technologies, and that digitalisation, 3D modelling, artificial intelligence and virtual/augmented reality support the preservation, protection, research, conservation, restoration and promotion of culture and cultural heritage and facilitate cooperation among the conservation institutes, research and scientific communities;

5.5 Recalling that satellite technologies and the space economy contribute to monitoring and protecting cultural heritage at risk and that supporting knowledge building through voluntary enhanced secure data collection and sharing, in line with national and international laws and standards, is particularly critical to monitor the multifaceted impacts of climate change, notably by harnessing new technologies that contribute to climate adaptation and to inform policy action. Call for the following actions:

6. We affirm culture’s transformative role in sustainable development, helping address economic, social, and ecological pressures and needs. In this respect, we call for the full recognition and integration of culture and the creative economy into development processes and policies, involving all levels of societies, including local communities, as a driver and an enabler for the achievement of the Goals set out in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

7. We urge Governments to recognise culture and creativity as an integral part of wider policy agendas, such social cohesion, employment, innovation, health and well-being, the environment, sustainable local development and human rights.

8. We recommend to include culture, cultural heritage and the creative sector in national and international post-pandemic recovery strategies, recognising that international cultural exchanges depend on strong cultural and creative actors in all countries.

9. We urge Governments to ensure that cultural and creative professionals and firms have due access to employment, social protection, innovation, digitalisation and business support measures.

10. We urge Governments to develop and maintain conditions that lay the groundwork for all cultural and creative actors to work in a free, inclusive and safe environment, preventing all forms of discrimination and fighting against professional and artistic discrimination of any kind in the culture sector.

11. We call for cultural institutions to make continuous progress in the areas of accessibility, Design for All and multi-sensory experiences including through digital means, to facilitate participation and engagement in culture and to promote new learning experiences, innovative pedagogies and active interpretation in the field of culture. Cultural environments should be designed to enable everyone to play a full and active role in cultural life with equal opportunities.

12. Convinced that cooperation and dialogue are vital in the fight against violent extremism we express our strongest condemnation of the deliberate destruction of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, wherever it takes place, as it irreversibly affects the identities of the communities, damages human rights and community identity, erasing legacies of the past and damaging social cohesion. We support initiatives taken to protect endangered cultural heritage and restore destroyed or damaged cultural heritage.

13. We recognise that the misuse and misappropriation of Indigenous and local communities’ art and cultural expressions including the production and sale of inauthentic Indigenous and local communities’ art contributes to the destruction and denigration of Indigenous and local cultural heritage and culture, and encourage the international community to protect Indigenous and local communities Intellectual Property and cultural expression.

14. We are convinced that multilateral efforts, with UNESCO at the core, are crucial for safeguarding and promoting culture. In this context, we welcome the activation of international mechanisms for rapid intervention in emergencies aimed to protect and preserve cultural heritage damaged or endangered by conflicts and disasters, including in the context of UN peacekeeping operations as may be called for under UNSC Resolution 2347, with the participation of National Task Forces upon invitation by UNESCO.

15. We reiterate our deepest concern for the growing looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property and threats to intellectual property, including through digital and social platforms, and other organised crimes committed globally against cultural heritage and cultural institutions. We call on the international community to take strong and effective measures, including: (a) Ratification of relevant international agreements and Conventions and progress on further development and better implementation of international standards, in strong cooperation with relevant international organisations including UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOM, ICOMOS and UNIDROIT; (b) development and strengthening of appropriate tools, avoiding duplications and redundancies, to increase the effectiveness of law enforcement collaboration and investigations through the voluntary exchange of data and information, the monitoring of borders as well as of auction houses, galleries, warehouses, free zones and other related businesses, in strong cooperation with INTERPOL, UNODC and WCO, also through bilateral cooperation efforts such as mutual legal assistance treaties.

16. Recognising that the illicit trafficking of cultural property and threats to intellectual property are serious international crimes that are linked to money laundering, corruption, tax evasion and terrorist financing and also highly affects all countries’ cultural identity, we emphasise the importance of targeted tools such as dedicated public prosecutors, specialised law enforcement units and databases of stolen cultural objects, updated and interconnected with INTERPOL, as well as dedicated custom organisations, to better support transnational investigations and prosecution on cultural and intellectual property crimes.

17. We also encourage the reinforcement of dialogue, structured cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary cooperation and synergies among cultural heritage and disaster-risk management stakeholders at the local (including persons belonging to local and Indigenous communities), national, regional and international level, including ICCROM, ICOM and ICOMOS, to protect cultural heritage and fight the illicit trafficking in cultural properties. This includes the sharing of knowledge, progress towards common standards and building capacity of the diverse stakeholders involved, including customs, art markets, museums, law enforcement authorities, and military and civil protection operators as well as by initiating activities such as educational campaigns and promotion of museums.

18. We recognise the opportunity presented by the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26) and the preparatory meetings (Pre-COP 26) to be held in Glasgow (UK) and Milan (IT) to raise awareness of the importance of global action on climate change and its impacts on cultural heritage and cultural diversity. There is also a need to build greater resilience from the impact of climate change and climate-related disasters and better leverage the potential of culture-based solutions for climate action.

19. We recognise culture’s role and its potential in leading to solutions to address climate change. We will strive to build resilient societies, facilitate targeted research and increased scientific cooperation on the reciprocal effects of climate change and culture, upscale cultural dimensions into climate change policies, and to mainstream cultural considerations into the global climate agenda, including through the implementation of international preservation and conservation principles and standards, taking into account different national circumstances, sensibilities and priorities. We invite the Parties to the Paris Agreement to consider including culture and cultural heritage in their Adaptation Communications.

20. We additionally recognise the importance of mobilising society at the local level towards achieving urban sustainability and contributing to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Actions to be considered may include promoting the adaptive reuse and, where possible, sensitive retrofitting of historical buildings to help conserve energy and reduce emissions in the building sector and lowering the carbon footprint of cultural institutions, cultural events and practices and other creative activities.

21. We recognise the importance of youth-led action and entrepreneurship in culture and innovation-related fields and welcome youth-led initiatives to raise awareness on the value of cultural resources for more sustainable, inclusive and resilient societies, such as the Y20 awareness-raising campaign. We call upon the international community to foster the inclusion of youth in decision-making processes and their role as change-makers. We also encourage the development of youth-targeted initiatives, with the support of international for a, by strengthening synergies between culture and education to develop creative skills that are critical to enhance innovation and respond to the fast-evolving skills needs in the labour market, in particular for youth furthest from opportunities, while also supporting employability, personal development and self-realisation.

22. We encourage the international community to elevate the knowledge, stories and voices of their populations, including of persons belonging to Indigenous and local communities, reflecting these in their cultural institutions and fostering the development, education and job pathways to improve self-determination and professional opportunities for them in the culture sector.

23. We encourage investments in technical and vocational training in culture-related employment - both in formal and non-formal contexts - to adapt labour skills towards a sustainable digital and ecological transition, including the knowledge in traditional crafts and materials. In this framework, formal, non-formal and lifelong education and Indigenous and local communities’ knowledge are key to achieving long-term effective transformational change towards environmental sustainability.

24. Recognising the role of relevant International Organisations, in particular UNESCO and  ICCROM, we will explore the establishment of a G20 network of Cultural Business Management  Training institutions, to strengthen the managerial capacities of cultural professionals to foster  culture-driven economic and social development;

25. We encourage cooperation, research, sharing of information, tools and products on the use of new digital technologies and technological infrastructures and networks aimed at protecting, studying, preserving, digitising, promoting and accessing cultural heritage, including advanced, remote sensing and related ICT and digital technologies, Artificial Intelligence, earth observation systems and use of image similarity recognition, to achieve cost-effective solutions for risk prevention and management. We encourage fostering transnational actions and public/private collaborations aimed at technological and digital development, facilitating universal access to and participation in culture, as drivers for growth.

26. Recognising the importance of digitalisation for preservation, access, reuse and education, we encourage transnational cooperation and the development of policies facilitating the mission of museums, libraries and archives to preserve cultural heritage for present and future generations in the digital age.

27. We support the review and adaptation of cultural policies, including in the digital context, to foster the creation and access to diverse cultural contents, advance the status, rights and working conditions of artists and creatives online and offline, including their Intellectual Property Rights, and guarantee fair remuneration of creators and persons belonging to Indigenous people and local communities.

28. We call for the adoption of safeguards to ensure a healthy digital ecosystem to protect users from risks posed by disinformation, misinformation, hate speech, online harm and piracy, to promote mutual trust among all users including artists and creators.

29. We recognise the importance of sustainable cultural tourism for affirming the value of culture as a resource for dialogue and mutual understanding among people, for the preservation and appreciation of cultural diversity, the conservation of cultural heritage and the sustainability of local communities. We encourage the sustainable management of cultural heritage sites, the increased participation of the cultural and creative sectors and local communities in the development of tourism and better protection in case of important tourism flows.

30. We welcome the adoption of the G20 Culture Working Group Terms of Reference and we task the G20 Culture Working Group, with the support of the OECD, UNESCO and other relevant International Organisations to build a strong evidence base regarding the contribution of culture and creative sectors to sustainable and balanced growth, to inform policy action at international, national and local levels.

31. We ask the G20 Culture Working Group to work on recommendations and actions aimed at advancing the contribution of culture and cultural heritage in addressing climate change and promoting climate-focused cultural action.

32. We, the Ministers of Culture of the G20, will submit this Ministerial Declaration to the G20 Leaders’ 2021 Summit and advocate the introduction of Culture in the G20 workstream, given its strong economic and social impact at the national and global level. We thank the Italian Presidency for its dedication and leadership throughout 2021 and call for the legacy drawn today to be pursued under Indonesia’s Presidency of the G20 and beyond. Rome, 30 July 2021

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