G20 India Culture Working Group Meetings: Outcome Documents
Following 6 months of meetings, statements, global thematic webinars and discussions of the Draft Ministerial Declaration, the 'Kashi Culture Pathway' was released at the Culture Minister's Meeting in Varanasi on 26 August, 2023. As for the G20 SA (2020) and G20 Italy (2021), ICOMOS once again attended the Culture Working Group and Ministerial meetings, providing technical contributions on issues identified within the G20 India agenda.
The culture workstream priorities under this year's G20 are:
- Protection and restitution of cultural property
- Harnessing living heritage for a sustainable future
- Promotion of cultural and creative industries and creative economy
- Leveraging digital technologies for the promotion and protection of culture
Great concern was raised over illicit trafficking of cultural property "through the rise of the online market and other digital and social platforms", and a need for specific regulation was addressed. The culture ministers from G20 countries also emphasized the link between illicit trafficking of cultural property and organised crime, especially during conflicts or post-conflicts situations.
The fundamental necessity to protect the living heritage of local communities as well a of indigenous peoples was recognised and close attention was given to the misuse and misappropriation of practices and cultural expression, especially through commercial use.
The forum discussed several other topics, including reinforcing cooperation among nations and developing capacity-building of relevant stakeholders in order to fight illicit trafficking of cultural property and strengthening institutional and policy frameworks to harness living heritage for sustainable development.
Pictured above: ICCROM, ICOM and ICOMOS Representatives at the 4th Culture Working Group Meeting
Four ICOMOS members contributed to the global thematic webinars on the above mentioned priorities:
Priority 1 / Barbara Hoffmann, ICOMOS ICLAFI (International Scientific Committee on Legal, Administrative and Financial Issues) called for the G20 Members to promote the ratification of legal instruments which fight illicit trafficking of cultural property and underlined the need to evaluate the effectiveness of national actions against the looting and illegal trafficking of antiquities. Lastly, Ms. Hoffmann emphasised the need to establish interdisciplinary connections and knowledge-sharing data bases amongts professionals operating in the field of conservation and culture.
Priority 2 / Ananya Bhattachaya, ICOMOS ICTC (International Scientific Committee on Cultural Tourism) and ICOMOS SDGWG (Sustainable Developement Goals Working Group) emphasized the need to address funding and technology support for research, documentation and access to traditional knowledge, capacity building of cultural bearers and intellectual property rights knowledge, regional and multilateral cooperation to support artistic freedom and stimulate innovation.
Priority 3 / Gabriel Caballero, Focal Point of the ICOMOS SDGWG, urged the ministers of G20 to support the integration of culture in the Sustainable Development Goals as an explicit enabler and driver of sustainable development, the current framing of Target 11.4 failing to capture the full needs of the cultural sector
Priority 4 / Gai Jorayev, President ICOMOS ISCoAH (International Scientific Committee on Aerospace Heritage) underlined the necessity to move away from case-study based success stories and shift to a concept-driven framework, making open-data and open-access the requirement within the sector of digital technologies.
ICOMOS thanks outgoing ICOMOS India President Navin Piplani and ICOMOS Board member Nupur Prothi (pictured above) who representend ICOMOS at the G20 India meetings.