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UNESCO lauds the return of 'historic' Saudi-initiated cultural meeting during Italian G20
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 31 - 07 - 2021

The second G20 Culture Ministerial Meeting (CMM) has taken place here, building on the success of the Saudi-led initiative inaugurated under its presidency last year.
The G20 members will adopt a ministerial declaration on culture. It is expected that ministers will agree to strengthen rules combating illicit trafficking of cultural property and give greater prominence to the role of culture as a driver of climate action, particularly the preservation of cultural heritage.
They are also likely to promise greater investment in culture-related education, training, employment and provide greater access to culture online.
In a statement following the meeting, UNESCO celebrated the expected outcomes: "Italy has taken important steps with a view to integrating culture on a permanent basis in the G20...
This dynamic is in line with the historic advance achieved at the initiative of Saudi Arabia, which put culture on the G20's agenda in 2020."
The CMM is a high-level platform intended to tackle issues of critical importance to the global cultural and creative economy, which is estimated to be worth $2.3 trillion.
The addition of a cultural pillar to the G20 agenda boosts a sector affected by the pandemic more than most, given that G20 members represent 60% of the world's population and 80% of global GDP.
The Kingdom was represented by Minister of Culture Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Bin Farhan, who said: "Saudi Arabia celebrates the return of culture to the annual G20 Agenda, recognizing the importance of culture in advancing the G20 mission for greater global economic cooperation.
"We thank our Italian hosts for building on the momentum generated in Riyadh last year. For the last two years, G20 members have discussed the critical importance of culture — its preservation and development — as a driver of economic growth.
"Saudi Arabia is seeing the benefits firsthand as we undergo a cultural transformation across the Kingdom — from the addition of the Ḥimā Cultural Area as our sixth UNESCO World Heritage Site, to celebrating home-grown talent on the global stage at world renowned events, such as the Venice Biennale and Cannes Film Festival."
Saudi Arabia, which is undergoing a cultural transformation as part of Vision 2030, has made great strides towards preserving and developing its cultural sector.
This includes developing a world-leading center to preserve underwater cultural heritage in the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf Region, announced at last year's CMM, the establishment of new cultural festivals throughout the Kingdom, and the creation of new support ecosystems for Saudi creatives.
Saudi Arabia is also supporting other multilateral efforts to conserve global culture. In 2019, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNESCO to contribute $25 million to the preservation of heritage worldwide.
The Kingdom invests in initiatives that will enhance international cooperation for research and capacity building, education, training and to explore the tremendous potential of digitalization in the cultural sector.


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