UNESCO – Mondiacult 2022: The Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation held under the chairmanship of Indonesia
Ministers and senior officials of 32 countries, as well as more than 20 leading Intergovernmental organizations and NGOs from the region met online over two days and shared key trends, issues and priority areas of policy engagement for culture, such as digitalization of resources, protection and promotion of natural and cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, legal framework to protect cultural properties and cultural rights and strengthening of data and statistics.
The Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation was the second of five regional consultations planned between December 2021 and February 2022 in preparation of UNESCO – Mondiacult 2022. Indonesia was leading the Consultation for the region – one of the widest and most diverse one of the World.
Indonesia’s Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, Nadiem Makarim, highlighted that the Asia Pacific region has its wealth of cultural diversity in 48 different countries across 17 time zones.
Over the past decades, the global landscape – and the cultural sector – have profoundly evolved. Newly emerged fault lines as well as global challenges have pushed countries to adapt their public policies to better fulfill their role in protecting and promoting global public goods, including culture.
Meanwhile, the COVID‐19 pandemic has starkly exposed the shared vulnerability of countries in facing emergency situations while ensuring social and economic sustainability. In this context, the widespread disruption faced by the culture and creative sectors calls for more robust cultural policies. Whilst the health crisis has starkly highlighted the role of culture and the arts for the resilience of people and communities, it has also brought to light the sector's key contribution to enhance the sustainability of local and national economies.
Among other priority areas, many countries of the region particularly highlighted the necessity to adapt the cultural sector to the digital transformation. Issues pertaining to intellectual property rights and copyright were mentioned as areas of focus in the context of increased distribution and consumption of online cultural contents. The wealth of traditional knowledge and skills in the region was presented as a source for developing more sustainable and resilient communities, notably through the safeguarding and promotion of indigenous knowledge to fight against climate change and in support of food security. The engagement and the increased mobilization of youth is an encouraging opportunity that is visible in the Asia-Pacific Region. Support for the youth through arts and cultural education are central to cultural policies. Cultural tourism, covering all dimensions of culture – from built heritage to living heritage – was also mentioned by many countries as a lever of sustainable economies and inclusion of women and the youth. The rise of cultural routes was also mentioned as an indication for a strong trend in cultural diplomacy in the region.
Echoing this renewed policy attention, UNESCO – Mondiacult 2022 will be convened by the UNESCO Director‐General and hosted by the Government of Mexico from 28 to 30 September 2022. Forty years after the first Mondiacult World Conference on Cultural Policies held in Mexico City (Mexico) in 1982, and 24 years after the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies for Development held in Stockholm (Sweden) in 1998, the World Conference will provide a new momentum for the global policy dialogue on culture for sustainable development.