G20 CMM: Indonesia leads cultural diplomacy for sustainable living

G20 CMM: Finding cultural routes to recovery, sustainable living

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“Speaking of post-pandemic life, we must also think of ways to create a sustainable life so that our children in the future can still live side by side with nature,” Minister of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Nadiem Makarim said while opening a G20 meeting on education and culture in February 2022.

This spirit of building a sustainable life is the main goal of a series of cultural activities involving cultural activists from Indonesia and other G20 countries.

According to Minister Makarim, through a series of G20 activities in the field of culture, Indonesia is seeking to invite countries and the global community to realize sustainable living through a return to cultural roots.

That is why the G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting (G20 CMM) is very important, he said.

The G20 CMM is the culmination of the organization of the G20 events in the field of culture, and is themed “Culture for Sustainable Living.”

Through this year’s G20 Presidency, the ministry has led the discussion on five priority agendas for the cultural sector: the role of culture as an enabler and driver of sustainable development; the economic, social, and environmental benefits of culture-based policies; efforts to safeguard culture as a common concern and strengthening the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property; the importance for widespread legitimate access to cultural products and the benefits of the cultural economy; and the mobilization of international resources for sustainable recovery through the initiation of the Global Arts and Culture Recovery Fund (GACRF).

The G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting in Magelang, Central Java, on Tuesday (September 13, 2022) focused on two main topics—first, ways to mobilize cultural resources to mainstream sustainable recovery efforts; and second, the initiation of the GACRF.

Sustainable recovery

Regarding the first topic, Director General of Culture at the ministry Hilmar Farid said that Indonesia has urged all countries and the global community to look at the local cultural resources around them that can be utilized to support sustainable global recovery efforts.

“Regarding this issue, the G20 culture ministers discuss the role of culture in solving the problems and challenges of today’s world,” he added.

According to Farid, although the G20 itself is a platform that primarily discusses global economic governance, the G20 CMM traces the important role of culture in boosting recovery and building a sustainable living.

“In this current extraordinary economic situation, it is very important for us to find ways to utilize the culture and manage the wealth of local resources to overcome existing problems,” he said.

“For instance, the Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO) has several times warned about the possibility of food insecurity, so the world community needs to utilize local resources and wisdom to build food security,” he added.

He further emphasized the importance of culture’s role in promoting recovery and building a sustainable life.

“When we talk about solutions for recovery and sustainable living, the effort actually starts from a very individual thing … related to the behavior of individuals in society,” he said.

Therefore, Farid argued that it is very important to reach out to the community and shape their behavior and habits toward sustainable living practices.

“The biggest challenge here is to consolidate these sustainable living practices into a living culture for the community,” he said.

“We need to promote local wisdom and behavior that supports recovery efforts and sustainable living,” he added.

For this reason, through the G20 CMM, Indonesia has called on other G20 countries to work together to restore the cultural sector, which has been affected by the pandemic. In addition, the meeting will serve as the basis for joint efforts for recovery and sustainable development.

Global funding

Furthermore, Indonesia is trying to make sure that efforts to use cultural resources for recovery do not only remain at the level of theory, but are followed up with the implementation of ideas, which can be channeled through support for the establishment of a global fund for the recovery of arts and culture sectors.

Therefore, for the G20 CMM, the Indonesian government, through its ministry, has reaffirmed its commitment to restoring the arts and culture sector by encouraging the establishment of the GACRF and sustainable living culture.

“We have reaffirmed this commitment through the G20 Culture Chair’s Statement and the Global Arts and Culture Recovery Fund initiative,” Minister Makarim informed.

As part of efforts to establish the global fund, Indonesia has tried to mobilize global collaboration for recovering the cultural economy so that artists and cultural workers can create again, and museums and art centers can reopen their doors.

The initial discussion on the concept will be taken forward at the Indian G20 presidency next year.

The Indonesian government had previously gathered inputs from G20 members, specially invited countries, and international organizations on the GACRF initiative document.

The participation of the G20 countries in the establishment of the global fund is still varied, with a number of countries expressing their readiness to support it and several others stating that they have so far not thought in this direction.

Therefore, the Indonesian government, through the G20 CMM, is pushing further discussions on GACRF as a global collaboration platform for restoring the art and cultural sectors.

“This initiative is also expected to support artists and cultural actors, especially during the post-COVID-19 economic recovery period,” said Minister Makarim.

The global fund is planned to be managed in collaboration with the UNESCO — the UN organization that has laid down the modalities and mechanisms for managing funds for cultural preservation.

Moreover, the Indonesian Government has expressed the hope that all discussions, good practices, and initiatives presented during this years’ G20 Culture, including the GACRF, will be continued by India, the next G20 host.

Indonesia will also follow up on the deliverables of the G20 CMM at the G20 Summit and take them up at the World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, or MONDIACULT, which will be convened by the UNESCO in Mexico at the end of September this year.

“Both forums will be a platform to strengthen global collaboration in recovering global culture,” Minister Makarim said.

Indeed, efforts to realize sustainable living are not only meant for G20 countries, but all countries around the world also need to jointly start moving to build a culture of living for recovery and better human living conditions.

As Minister Makarim said earlier: “Together we recover culture, recover humanity.” 

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