MEXICO: Unequal access to new technologies, illicit trafficking and threats to cultural heritage were among the issues on the agenda for international culture ministers who met Wednesday in Mexico City for the World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, or MONDIACULT.
Representatives of around 160 UNESCO member states are participating in the three-day conference, which seeks to reaffirm the global commitment to contemporary challenges facing multicultural societies and to formulate a forward-looking vision for cultural policies.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan headed the Kingdom’s delegation to MONDIACULT 2022.
The Saudi minister also headed the regional consultations for the Arab region, representing Saudi Arabia.
The consultations focused on four main objectives: identifying national and regional trends of cultural policies in countries, identifying and analyzing challenges and opportunities for cultural policies throughout the region, supporting the listing of culture in the regional trends agenda, and identifying priorities that can contribute to the final statement of MONDIACULT 2022.
The goals of the final declaration to be adopted on Friday include guaranteeing artists’ rights and regulating distribution platforms, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said.
Another objective is to ensure culture is included in international discussions on climate change, notably through traditional and Indigenous knowledge systems.
“Our cultural heritage is threatened very directly by global warming,” Azoulay said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that culture is vital for public health, according to conference coordinator Pablo Raphael.
“No one would have been able to survive the confinement and stress…without books, music and cinema,” he said.
The health crisis also laid bare technological inequalities between different communities, Mexican Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto said.
One of the meeting’s objectives is to find ways to guarantee that artists have access to technologies to share their work.
The final declaration is expected to include a call to recognize culture as a “global public good” that benefits all of the world’s citizens.