Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State for International Cultural Policy, issued the following statement today (29 July) ahead of the G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting in Rome on 29 and 30 July:
We need strong partners throughout the world for international cultural exchange. So it is good that the G20 Culture Ministers are meeting for the first time in person. The pandemic has shown how crucial the culture and creative sectors are – not only for the economy but also for the social and mental welfare of our societies. Artistic freedom is vital to democracies. We have a duty to guarantee it – for example, by ensuring that artists have secure working conditions and an adequate livelihood.
Protecting our cultural heritage from the impact of climate change has become a growing challenge. In this connection, I will present two programmes from Germany during the meeting. First of all, the new “Ground Check” programme, which brings together academic institutions working in the field of cultural preservation around the world with the aim of strengthening sustainable development and effectively complementing strategies.
Second, I am going to present a mechanism for protecting cultural property in disasters. A rapid response is key to protecting cultural objects in the event of a disaster. We are therefore developing a rapid reaction mechanism through which support for the speedy rescue of objects and buildings can be mobilised. In addition to the secondment of experts, this mechanism includes modular technical equipment which can be transported within hours and used to set up an emergency conservation laboratory. I am strongly committed to dovetailing this rapid reaction mechanism with the instruments of other international partners.
The participants in the joint high-level meeting on “The rise of the cultural economy: a new paradigm” in November 2020 agreed to place culture on the G20 agenda as a separate issue from now on. That is why the first official G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting is taking place in Rome this year on 29 and 30 July. Italy currently holds the G20 Presidency.
As well as looking at how to tackle the COVID‑19 pandemic, the Culture Ministers will focus on the following issues:
- The protection of cultural heritage and the fight against illicit trafficking
- The fight against the climate crisis through culture and the consideration of climate aspects in culture
- Capacity building through training and education
- Digital transformation and new technologies for culture
- Culture and the creative sector as engines for sustainable development in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
At the invitation of the Italian Presidency, Minister of State Müntefering will give a speech on the protection of cultural heritage. Germany is working in many ways to protect cultural heritage around the world and is thus not only preserving key cultural property but also helping to promote peace and stability.
Within the EU, the Council conclusions of 21 June of this year included the decision to incorporate the protection of cultural property into the Common Foreign and Security Policy. This success builds on a high-level conference held during Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in November 2020.