Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona – as the rotating chair of ASEAN for Culture and Fine Arts – on September 13 attended the Group of 20 (G20) Culture Ministers’ Meeting in Indonesia to discuss preparations for cultural interventions with partners in the aftermath of Covid-19.

Themed “Culture for Sustainable Living”, the meeting was held in the cultural city of Borobudur with the participation of G20 culture ministers, UNESCO representatives and several dialogue partners.

The discussion focused on key issues, including the restoration of the cultural sector post-pandemic, climate change as well as the impacts of conflict and other crises which affect the cultural sector.

The ministers emphasised the role of culture in contributing to the promotion of sustainable living. The meeting also touched on Indonesia’s initiative to establish a global fund for the restoration of arts and culture, which aims to set up a funding body that would provide cultural interventions in the aftermath of global crises.

“In particular, I call for strengthening efforts to integrate culture and sustainable development activities. I encourage sustainable investments that value and contribute to the protection of cultural resources for those working in the fields of culture, arts and heritage,” she said.

“I also encourage societal changes which are made on the basis of cultural, equitable and inclusive expression,” she added.

She said this spirit is in line with the content of the recently adopted ASEAN City of Culture Declaration, which focuses on promoting the ASEAN Community by innovating and adapting to support cultural and economic currents in the context of a post-Covid-19 recovery.

She also briefed the meeting on last week’s international conference on the prevention and control of the illegal trade in cultural property, held in Siem Reap town with ASEAN representatives in attendance. The conference achieved satisfactory results, she said.

Sackona offered her support to Indonesia and the other nations that proposed a global fund to restore the cultural sector post-pandemic. The sector should become an important driving force in rebuilding economies and in sustainable development, she added.

Hilmar Farid, director-general of the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, said at a high-level meeting in April that the pandemic had highlighted poverty, inequality and injustice in the modern world.

In order to recover and emerge stronger, everyone needs to live a new, more sustainable lifestyle, he added.

“The two main purposes of the G20 leadership in the cultural sector are to build a global consensus on sustainable new living, and to initiate a global recovery agenda through the establishment of a network of collective action in the field of culture,” he said.

Sackona also used her time in Indonesia to hold bilateral meetings with the cultural ministers of Singapore and Saudi Arabia to strengthen bilateral cooperation and foster closer ties in the field of arts and culture. She believes that these ties will benefit the people of the nations.