Paris-based International Council of Museums president Emma Nardi reaffirmed the power of museums to support sustainable development and climate action across the globe and recalled the strong links between heritage protection and cultural rights
Paris-based International Council of Museums (ICOM), whose experts attended the G20 culture track meetings in Varanasi recently, has advocated for the role of museums in preserving cultural heritage and shaping a sustainable future.
Representatives of ICOM, including its president Emma Nardi attended the fourth and the last round of the G20 culture working group and the G20 Culture Ministers' meeting in the temple town.
Besides ICOM, France-based UNESCO and ICOMOS, and Rome-based ICCROM were among the six international organisations which attended the culture track meeting in Varanasi, held from August 24-25, and the G20 ministerial meeting on August 26.
In her speech at the G20 meeting, ICOM president Nardi reaffirmed the power of museums to support sustainable development and climate action across the globe and recalled the strong links between heritage protection and cultural rights, ICOM said in a statement on Tuesday.
ICOM is a non-governmental organisation which works on preservation and promotion of museums.
"Museums are drivers of sustainable development in practice. In the context of G20 countries, which are focused on reducing carbon emissions, museums can play a significant role," she was quoted as saying in the statement.
In particular, she called on all governments to support their cultural institutions, including museums, as "key players in the face of global challenges".
"ICOM was present at the 2023 G20 Culture Ministers' meeting on August 26 in Varanasi, India, to advocate for the contributions of museums in the protection and preservation of cultural heritage and in encouraging sustainable development," the statement said.
Nardi also attended the special G20 Orchestra's performance 'Sur Vasudha' along with several ministers and representatives of various G20 members and invited countries, and experts from other international organisations.
"ICOM's advocacy work within the G20 Culture Working Group builds on its participation in the 2021 G20 summit in Italy and the Rome Declaration, which both highlighted the power of culture and museums in addressing climate change and the generative importance of the digital transformation of the cultural sector," the statement said.
ICOM's interim director general Medea Ekner and ICOM head of heritage protection Sophie Delepierre, and Joseph King, senior director in the office of the director general ICCROM, attended the G20 meetings in Varanasi.
As part of the preparatory work, the final meeting of the G20 culture working group under India's presidency of the G20, included discussions regarding protection and restitution of cultural property, leveraging digital technologies for the protection and promotion of culture, and safeguarding of living heritage for sustainable development.
In particular, the culture working group underscored the need to advance dialogue on the impact of digital transformation in the cultural sector and to strengthen international cooperation and awareness around protecting cultural heritage against looting and illicit trafficking, the statement said.
"Improving the use of technology to protect and widen accessibility to cultural heritage is one of ICOM’s priorities, thereby ensuring the continuous use and interpretation of cultural heritage by present and future generations," Ekner was quoted as saying in the statement.