The presidency of Saudi Arabia of the G20 is not just the first time that an Arab country has managed the international forum; however, it also induces the introduction of culture to the group’s public policy talks.
G20, and for the first time in its 21-year history, has recognized the increasing contribution of culture to the global economy, and the need to protect and invest in a domain that includes films, national heritage sites, museums, books and cuisine.
Indeed, the G20, directed by Saudi Arabia, has admitted the potential contribution of culture via the public policy spectrum and makes it at the center of discussion as a critical economic and social recovery component.
In fact, this axis was enhanced when G20 culture ministers have assembled on November 4, 2020, in a joint meeting on The rise of the cultural economy: a new paradigm and promised to support the $2.3 trillion cultural economy that is one of the most sectors affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Moreover, at the virtual gathering organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and G20 Saudi Secretariat as part of the International Conferences Program, global culture ministers have talked about heritage preservation, sustainable development, and culture as enhancing economic growth.
A new cultural era
Furthermore, talks have concentrated on using new technologies, developing digital platforms for artistic expression, and making cultural resources more easily accessible.
Annual revenue from cultural and creative sectors is determined at $2.3 trillion. Whereas exports are estimated at more than $250 billion, the sectors recruit about 30 million people around the world, while certain estimates put its contribution to the global gross domestic product at approximately 10 percent soon, according to UNESCO.
Besides, Ministers also evoked the importance of culture for international dialog, indicating cultural diplomacy as the main element for understanding, and a core component of external ties and an essential support of economic stability. The leaders also admitted that they would continue to meet annually, with next year’s talks organizing in Italy, while the European country holds the G20 presidency.
According to a statement, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr al-Saud related in his closing remarks: This high-level cultural presence at Saudi G20 Presidency illustrates our shared belief in the vital role of culture in propelling the innovation ecosystem of economies, adding: The onus is on us to preserve our shared heritage for future generations and to produce and disseminate culture in a sustainable manner.
Saudi Arabia also declared the creation of a center to manage, restore and protect its underwater cultural heritage in the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. This center that was declared in the context of the G20 cultural gathering would be responsible for developing the underwater cultural heritage domain in the Kingdom and the region.