ROME: Culture will be the driving force for a more sustainable world and a more prosperous future for all nations, Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said at a meeting of G20 culture ministers in Rome.
He took part as vice president of the G20 Ministerial Meeting of Culture organized by the Italian government, which chairs the G20 this year.
It represents the culmination of the Sherpa Cultural Track within the framework of the G20 agenda, a track that was created during the Kingdom’s assumption of the summit’s presidency in 2020.
The current presidency has identified five priorities for the Sherpa Cultural Track meetings for the year 2021: cultural and creative industries as key drivers of sustainability and growth, protection of cultural heritage, addressing climate change through culture, capacity-building through training and education, and digital transformation from a cultural perspective.
During the meeting, Prince Badr expressed appreciation to Italian Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism Dario Franceschini.
The prince also praised the efforts of the Italian presidency in building on the commitments of the first joint meeting of culture ministers, which resulted in laying the foundations for “fruitful cooperation” among the members of the G20 in order to promote culture as a development engine and a key factor in prosperity.
He then reviewed the Kingdom’s “continuous efforts” to preserve cultural heritage, noting that Saudi Arabia has made great strides to this end with the registration of six sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
He also stressed the Kingdom’s commitment to promoting international dialogue on the role of culture in mitigating the effects of climate change, contributing to a re-imagining of the relationship between cultural policymaking and environmental sustainability, launching research initiatives and exploring the vast potential of digitization in cultural sectors to increase their contribution to economic growth.
Prince Badr’s remarks were well received by Franceschini, who also expressed his gratitude to his Saudi counterpart for the “outstanding work in the G20 presidency” and repeated the G20 pledge to “continue to support culture and workers in the sector.” He cited culture as a “great factor of growth” and one that leads to the “creation of opportunities for the new generations and the most vulnerable categories.”
“The Rome Declaration of the Ministers of Culture, unanimously approved, is made up of 32 qualifying points. In the document, very strong expressions appear on the fight against discrimination, on the defense of human rights and on the enhancement of diversity,” Franceschini added during the session.
“The Saudi approach on culture is definitely interesting as it is an innovative and proactive one. And proactivity and innovation are definitely what is needed most in this difficult period,” Italian Undersecretary for Culture Lucia Borgonzoni told Arab News at the end of the meeting, whose plenary session was held in the spectacular scenario of the Coliseum.
“Like Italy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sees cultural and artistic heritage as drivers for economic development but also as a way of preserving identities and opening up to other cultures,” she added.