Rome (dpa) – The G20 culture ministers meeting in Rome has come to an end with the unanimous approval of the protection and development of the cultural sector.
Culture is an important growth factor for society, Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said at the latest press conference on Friday. The declaration has no symbolic character, but with its 31 points it is rich in everything that was discussed in the months before. Italy hosted the first official meeting of G20 culture ministers as part of its G20 presidency.
The round of the top 20 industrialized and emerging countries called on governments to recognize culture as an integral part of, for example, labor market or health policies. They recommended incorporating culture into political plans for the post-coronavirus pandemic and that people in the cultural sector have access to support for their business and social security.
They also acknowledged in the statement that the misuse of art by indigenous and local communities, for example through production and sale, contributes to the destruction of their cultural heritage. The G20 also emphasized that sustainable cultural tourism is important for the preservation of cultural heritage. They welcomed international programs that allow for rapid intervention in emergencies to protect cultural heritage, for example when it is threatened with destruction.
The German State Secretary for International Cultural Policy, Michelle Müntefering, presented a program at the conference to protect cultural property with technical means and experts in the event of a disaster. A test mission in the Sudanese capital Khartoum is planned this fall, the 41-year-old said. The network of experts will be expanded by 2024. According to Müntefering, Germany is investing 1.5 million euros this year in digitization as part of the program.
Müntefering promoted a rapid task force that knew what to do in emergencies, such as the Notre-Dame fire in Paris. There is already a collaboration with the German Archaeological Institute, which has people all over the world with the necessary expertise.
In five topics, the G20 further emphasized that culture is an engine for the economy because it provides jobs and therefore income. It also contributes to society by supporting health, inclusion, gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The illegal trade in cultural goods was also the subject of the meeting. This and the destruction of objects and cultural knowledge can ultimately lead to irreparable damage to the cultural heritage. With a view to climate change, the G20 pointed out that all forms of culture have great potential in the fight against climate change.
A central point in the statement is also the digitization of culture. The digital world is an engine for the cultural sector because it can reach new audiences and promote cultural exchange. However, on the Internet, users must be protected from disinformation and hate speech.