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Evento al Forum di Alto Livello per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile HLPF “Culture as a global public good. Toward a Culture Development Goal beyond 2030” 12 Luglio 2023

Massari evento cultura sviluppo

“Under the Italian Presidency, culture was included within the Group of Twenty (G20) as a permanent policy track, confirming the global political commitment to invest in culture as a driver of socio-economic development and resilience. Essentially, the Declaration of the Leaders of the G20 in Rome in 2021 recalled the importance of international efforts to safeguard and promote culture. This is a major step forward. However, threats continue to affect culture and, in many cases, go beyond the destruction of cultural heritage, and ground living heritage, cultural professionals and creativity.

Ambassador Massari, in your opinion, what further steps should be taken?”


Dear Assistant Director General,

I thank you for your question.

To start, allow me to express my appreciation to UNESCO and Greece for convening this very timely event on the margins of the HLPF, in the presence of many distinguished Colleagues and Friends. In this room – needless to say – we all share a vision of culture as a driving force for the achievement of the SDGs, and a commitment to embed culture and cultural rights in our broader and integrated efforts to promote effective multilateralism at the UN level.

Starting from this premise, it is indeed for us an extremely welcome development that the initiative of the Italian G20 Presidency back in 2021 has been consolidated by the following Indonesian and Indian presidencies, and that culture has become a permanent item on the agenda of the 20 biggest economies of the world. We salute the fact that the Ministers of Culture of the G20 will soon meet again, in Varanasi in August, upon the initiative of the Indian Government, to continue this discussion.

In fact, the Rome Declaration of the G20 Ministers of Culture highlighted the essential role of multilateral cooperation in safeguarding and promoting culture. It also emphasized the crucial importance of protecting and preserving cultural and religious heritage, especially when damaged or endangered by conflicts and disasters, and welcomed the activation of international mechanisms for rapid intervention to respond to these situations. This includes collaboration in the context of UN peacekeeping operations and with the participation of National Task Forces upon invitation by UNESCO. Italy is a long-standing partner of UNESCO in safeguarding cultural heritage all around the globe: in 2016 we have jointly established the world’s first emergency task force for culture, the Blue Helmets for Culture, that have been employed on many occasions ever since, both nationally and internationally, to help countries in need.

However – as you correctly pointed out – culture and cultural heritage continue to be targeted, even in countries not affected by war, under the threat of global challenges, such as climate change, natural disasters, over-tourism and last but not least the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to face all these challenges, synergies and international cooperation are needed more than ever through the promotion of an innovative, integrated approach to heritage, embracing the linkages between nature and culture, tangible and intangible, as well as heritage and creativity.

In this spirit, the “Living Heritage” event to be held in Naples next November (27th-29th November) will be an important occasion to promote such cooperation. This event is co-organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Naples, under the auspices of UNESCO and intends to celebrate two landmark anniversaries: 1) the 50th anniversary of the 1972 World Heritage Convention 2) and the 20th anniversary of the 2003 Convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Conference will discuss legislative frameworks and public policies to reaffirm the rights of peoples and communities to their cultural heritage and identity.

To conclude, and to respond to your question, I believe that to overcome the many challenges that we face, we need to adopt a people-centered approach, enabling the safeguarding of heritage while at the same time addressing all other societal challenges. The protection of cultural heritage plays a crucial role in strengthening social cohesion, resilience and the commitment of communities to sustainable development. We look forward to continuing to work with UNESCO and all our partners to harness the full potential of culture in accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.