UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development MONDIACULT 2022: September 28th-30th, 2022
135 Ministers of Culture
32 intergovernmental organizations
9 UN agencies
During this important ministerial and intergovernmental conference, the 150 States unanimously adopted the Declaration for Culture which aims to provide a common roadmap to strengthen the future of public policies in this field. It is stated that culture is a “global public good”, and must be included among the next United Nations Sustainable Development Goals “in its own right”. Another outcome of the Conference includes the establishment of a World Forum on Cultural Policies to be organized by UNESCO every four years.
The document reaffirms fundamental principles of previous Declarations adopted at the UNESCO World Conferences on Cultural Policies held in Mexico (1982) and Stockholm (1998), including the definition of culture as a “set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or social group, [which] includes not only arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs”. It also points at the need of acknowledging cultural diversity as “a source of exchange, innovation and creativity” (p. 1).
The Declaration states the concern about the continued vulnerability of the cultural sector, in view of the increasing threats to culture (COVID-19, armed conflicts), particularly the unequal access to culture, social gaps, the status and livelihoods of artists, cultural professionals and practitioners, destruction of cultural heritage and disruption of living cultural practices. Therefore, the imperative need of protecting and promoting human rights and cultural diversity is emphasized. It calls to action in order to build equitable conditions for women, youth, children, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
The text defines the cultural rights that need to be taken into consideration in public policies, including the social and economic rights of artists, cultural professionals and practitioners, artistic freedom, the right of indigenous communities to safeguard and transmit their cultural identity and heritage, and the protection and promotion of cultural and natural heritage. It also suggest the need to regulate the digital sector, for the benefit of cultural diversity, artists’ intellectual property rights and access to content for all.
It advocates for “a systemic anchoring of culture in public policies”, and “the importance of enhancing synergies between culture and education.” It acknowledges the need to:
An important element of the Declaration, on which the WAAE can continue to advocate and lobby, relates to the goal of supporting “the development of a revised UNESCO framework on culture and arts education, to encompass the evolutions of the cultural sector, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, such as UNESCO National Commissions and expert networks”.
In addition to the plenary sessions held at the National Auditorium, I was able to attend several thematic sessions, as side-events, of particular interest to the field of arts education including:
“From Policy to Practice: The Role of the 2030 Agenda and Beyond”
Two outcomes were presented in this session: a Zero-draft of a future Culture Goal, that aims to ensure that culture is placed at the heart of development planning. And a new toolkit as a guide to the SDGs for cultural institutions.
“Arts for Dignity, Justice and Peace”
This event was inspired by UNESCO’s Art-Lab for Human Rights and Dialogue, which aimed to encourage intercultural dialogue, ensuring respect for diversity, dignity and human rights, social justice and peacebuilding. Invited speakers provided diverse types of community programs and workshops engaging at-risk populations in artistic interventions in Mexico.
The UNESCO ResiliArt 100 exhibition presented at MONDIACULT, showed the outcomes of the ResiliArt movement launched by UNESCO on April 15 2020, as an open discussion dedicated to artists and culture professionals, to address the challenges that COVID-19 pandemic brought, and the central importance of culture in our lives.
The exhibition, based on the following report, (https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000382692) presented 14 areas of action in order to respond to current challenges:
As a ministerial and intergovernmental event, there was limited opportunity for more active participation. I received an invitation to attend the pre-conference event “A Culture Goal is Essential for Our Common Future”, from Siljia Fischer, Secretary General of the International Music Council, unfortunately, this event took place on September 27, before my arrival to Mexico city.