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UNESCO conference finds culture has been declared a 'common interest of the world' by 150 states

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At UNESCO’s Mondiacult 2022 conference in Mexico, 150 states, including the UAE, adopted a historic declaration pledging to treat culture as a “global public good.”

About 2,600 attendees gathered in Mexico City over three days for the largest culturally-focused global conference in the last 40 years.

At the invitation of UNESCO and Mexico, 150 countries sent delegations to the conference. 135 of them were represented by Ministers of Culture.

“Culture plays a fundamental role in our society,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

“Through culture, people discover their common humanity and become free and wise citizens.

“But despite progress, it still does not have a proper place in public policy or international cooperation.

“Mondiacarte 2022 has sent a powerful signal to change this. The declaration adopted today is a commitment to action.”

The mass adoption is the result of ten months of multilateral negotiations and marks the first time countries have confirmed that culture is a “global public good.”

As a result, countries are seeking inclusion “as a specific end in itself” within the next UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This text defines a set of cultural rights that need to be considered in public policy.

These include the social and economic rights of artists, artistic freedom, the right of indigenous communities to protect and transmit ancestral knowledge, and the protection and promotion of cultural and natural heritage.

It also calls for substantial regulation of the digital sector, especially major platforms, for online cultural diversity, intellectual property rights for artists, and fair access to all content.

cultural property rights

In the declaration, the government also commits to step up the fight against illegal trade in cultural property through enhanced international cooperation.

It calls on art market operators not to sell works whose provenance is unclear.

The Declaration also seeks to protect vulnerable and often unlisted archaeological sites and to prevent illegal excavation and looting.

It obliges UNESCO to propose standard-setting measures to address these challenges.

Ms Azoulay also announced the creation of a virtual museum of stolen cultural property by UNESCO and the International Criminal Police Organization to help people learn about the history of these works, which is expected to be operational by 2025.

Quarterly World Cultural Forum

From 2025, the World Forum on Cultural Policy will be held by UNESCO every four years.

Its discussions are informed by the World Report on Cultural Policy produced by the organization.

According to UNESCO data, the cultural and creative sector is one of the strongest development engines in the world.

With more than 48 million jobs worldwide, almost half of them women, they account for 6.2% of total employment and 3.1% of the world’s gross domestic product.

The sector also provides the most employment and opportunities for young people under the age of 30.

Updated: Sep 30, 2022 at 7:27 PM