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G20 Reenforces its Commitment to Cultural with Statement in Leaders’ Declaration

November 21, 2022

World Leaders Address Cultural Racketeering in 2022 Bali Declaration, Building on Progress Made During the 2021 Rome Summit

From November 15-16, heads of the world’s largest economies gathered for the 2022 G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia. At the conclusion of the summit, the G20 leaders adopted the Bali Declaration, a culmination of the work undertaken by the Indonesian G20 Presidency over the course of the last year, which reaffirms the G20’s commitment to cultural heritage protection:

We reaffirm the role of culture as an enabler and driver for sustainable development with intrinsic value beyond its social and economic benefits. We are committed to develop policies that draw on cultural diversity as a resource for sustainable living and promote an inclusive and equitable ecosystem at all levels that values the contribution of those working in the culture, arts and heritage sectors. We will respect, protect and preserve the cultural heritage of our peoples, including local communities and indigenous peoples, as applicable. We support public incentives and sustainable investments from the private sector to strengthen the cultural economy. We will safeguard cultural heritage as well as fighting illicit trafficking of cultural property and promoting restitution to its rightful owner/countries of origin, in accordance with the relevant UNESCO Conventions and national laws.

This powerful statement aligns with last year’s Rome Declaration and the broader efforts of the Italian presidency, under which the G20 prioritized making culture part of the post-COVID recovery, as well as incorporating it into the institution’s broader work to secure economic integrity and transparent markets. This resulted in a Cultural Ministerial, held at the Colosseum in Rome during the summer of 2021, the culmination of a series of high-level events on the illicit trade that led up to the G20 Summit. The Indonesian presidency continued to build on this important groundwork, holding a G20 Cultural Ministers’ Meeting in Borobudur from September 12-13. 

The statement in this year’s leaders declaration also addresses the first recommendation from the AC’s Roadmap for the G20 to Combat the Illicit Trade in Cultural Objects. The report, co-authored with international experts, called for the G20 to Build Political Will through a statement annually in the final declaration. With two years of strong statements in the Leaders’ Declarations, the G20 has demonstrated the political will needed to combat looting and trafficking from the top down.

The AC commends the G20 for making this issue part of its agenda and continuing to make cultural heritage an international priority. With the announcement of the prominent theme of India’s G20 Presidency, “Soul of India,” and given India’s role as a cultural leader in South Asia and beyond, the AC looks forward to what the Indian government will do to continue this critical focus.

Read the Leader’s Declaration.

Read the AC’s Roadmap for the G20 to Combat the Illicit Trade in Cultural Objects.