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Kashi Culture Pathway:
Outcome Document and Chair's Summary

G20 Culture Ministers

Varanese, India, August 26, 2023

The Outcome Document comprises the entire text, which was unanimously agreed to by all G20 members, except for Paragraph 15, which pertains to the Chair's Summary.


We, the G20 Culture Ministers, on the occasion of our meeting in Varanasi on 26 August 2023, under India's 2023 Presidency of the G20;

Committed to strengthening the anchoring of culture within the G20 and reiterating its relevance in renewing multilateralism while also nurturing solidarity, dialogue, collaboration and cooperation, including from a North-South and South-South perspective;

Welcoming the positioning of culture on the G20 agenda by Saudi Arabia in 2020 and the establishment of the culture working group by Italy in 2021, and building on the outcomes of the G20 culture ministerial meetings organized under the successive presidencies of Saudi Arabia (2020), Italy (2021) and Indonesia (2022), while further reaffirming the principles and commitments enshrined in the Rome Declaration of the G20 Ministers of Culture in 2021, as well as within the culture-related provisions of the G20 Rome Leaders' Declaration (2021) and the G20 Bali Leaders' Declaration (2022);

Carrying forward the global momentum on culture and sustainable development, reflected in the outcomes of the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development – MONDIACULT 2022, while also concurring with the aims of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 76/214 on Culture and Sustainable Development adopted by the General Assembly on 19 December 2021;

Reaffirming the role of culture as an enabler and driver for sustainable development, contributing directly and indirectly to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, with intrinsic value beyond its social and economic benefits, and as a common good of humanity; encouraging the integration of culture as a specific goal in its own right in the development agenda; fostering the resilience and regeneration of our economies and societies including those of the Global South – a critical endeavour in light of the contemporary economic, social and ecological challenges, from climate change and continuing crisis and conflicts, to increasing inequalities;

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other pertinent global and regional instruments for effective culture-led regeneration, while also valuing human and cultural diversity, equal and inclusive cultural access and participation and cultural exchanges as preconditions for more innovative, sustainable, cohesive, resilient, safe and inclusive societies and, in that light, welcoming an approach to culture that ensures respect for human rights which cuts across the four thematic priorities put forth by the Indian Presidency;

Reiterating our concern about the growing, multifaceted impact of climate change on the conservation and safeguarding of cultural and natural heritage, while also reaffirming our strong conviction that culture, across its different components – including intangible and tangible cultural heritage, creativity, local communities as well as Indigenous Peoples languages and knowledge systems – offer great potential to contribute meaningfully to climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as Action for Climate Empowerment, taking into account different national contexts and contributing to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement;

Acknowledging the vision "One Earth, One Family, One Future" which underpins the 2023 G20 Summit under the Indian Presidency, underlining its particular relevance to the culture workstream as deeply connected to diversity, sustainability and inclusiveness, and taking note of the G20 High Level Principles on Lifestyles for Sustainable Development, endorsed by the G20 Development Workstream;

Guiding Principles

1. Protection and Restitution of Cultural Property

1.1. Recognising that all threats to cultural heritage and cultural resources – including looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property, the intentional or collateral destruction of cultural heritage and sites, desecration of relics and shrines, illicit excavations, forgery and the misappropriation of cultural heritage and of traditional knowledge of local communities as well as Indigenous Peoples – may result in the loss of irreplaceable cultural assets and the disruption of socio-cultural practices, potentially impacting peoples and communities, including cultural, human, economic and social rights, affecting cultural diversity and depriving people and local communities of irreplaceable sources of meaning, identity, knowledge, resilience and economic benefits;

1.2. Reiterating our deepest concern for the continued looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property – including through the rise of the online market and other digital and social platforms, which may require specific regulation – as well as for organized crime committed globally against cultural heritage and cultural institutions, while further underlining that destruction and illicit trafficking of cultural property are serious crimes and can be linked to money laundering, corruption, tax evasion and terrorist financing, notably in conflict or post-conflict situations, and reiterating our commitment to strengthen the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property;

1.3. Acknowledging the increased recognition of the value of the return and restitution of cultural property to their countries and communities of origin based on the consent between the relevant parties, with a view to strengthening social cohesion and intergenerational transmission, fostering dialogue between countries and communities and greater understanding of cultural heritage, while expanding knowledge and promoting solidarity and social justice;

2. Harnessing Living Heritage for a Sustainable Future

2.1. Underlining the importance of research, as well as the voluntary sharing of knowledge and expertise to strengthen action for the safeguarding and promotion of the world's cultural diversity embedded in cultural heritage in all its forms – tangible, intangible and digital, including local communities as well as Indigenous Peoples art, languages and cultural practices and expressions – for the benefit of future generations, as well as to mainstream living heritage for its effective safeguarding;

2.2. Acknowledging the importance and the transformative impact of living heritage on sustainable development, livelihoods and inclusive economic development of local communities – including women, youth, vulnerable groups as well as Indigenous Peoples – as a reservoir of knowledge and skills, notably with regard to climate action, education, biodiversity conservation, thus contributing meaningfully to regional, national and local sustainable development plans and strategies, as well as sustaining inclusive and equitable trade involving local communities as well as Indigenous Peoples;

2.3. Expressing our concern over the fast-paced disappearance of languages worldwide, including in particular indigenous languages, leading to the disruption or loss of oral traditions and living heritage expressions, and reiterating that the identification, preservation and revitalization of languages as a means of transmitting living heritage and indigenous knowledge systems is critical to the safeguarding of the world's cultural diversity;

3. Promotion of Cultural and Creative Industries, and Creative Economy

3.1. Recognising the growing economic weight of the cultural and creative sectors and industries – as important economic and societal drivers in their own right, significant source of decent jobs and income for cultural and creative professionals and businesses, drivers of innovation and sources of creative skills, promoting behavioural change and transformation towards more sustainable production and consumption, generating important spillovers to the wider economy and society, notably on education and health, social inclusion, gender equality, youth empowerment as well as marginalized and vulnerable populations, while leveraging growth in other policy areas, notably employment, tourism, finance, trade and investment, and digital technologies amongst others;

3.2. Further recognising the value of strengthening and aligning international conceptual frameworks of the creative economy and the cultural and creative sectors and industries and, with a view to supporting the sustainability of the sector, notably in the Global South, while also better assessing its size and its contribution to sustainable development and, in particular, economic growth and decent work, thus supporting evidence-based policies;

3.3. Highlighting the importance of safeguarding the working conditions of artists and cultural professionals including within existing intellectual property rights frameworks, the exercise of artistic freedom, fair remuneration and trade, and adequate access to comprehensive and sustainable social protection systems, in particular for women and youth, with a view to supporting the resilience and economic potential of the cultural and creative sectors and industries, while recognising the need to promote the development of skilled labour in these sectors, accelerating the adaptation to the digital transformation, thus maximizing opportunities for citizens to enjoy and enhance the intrinsic value of culture;

4. Leveraging Digital Technologies for the Promotion and Protection of Culture

4.1. Recognising the benefits and opportunities of the digital technologies – that encompass web-based and frontier technologies such as 3D modelling, Artificial Intelligence, including generative AI, virtual or augmented reality, gamification, robotics, and information and data produced by earth observation systems – for the documentation, interpretation, presentation, preservation, protection and recovery, research, promotion, dissemination and transmission of culture and cultural heritage, including long term preservation of digital documents – we underline the importance of the development of common international standards on digital technology for the conservation of cultural heritage, particularly in the face of growing threats linked to conflicts, disasters or climate change – while further underlining that digital transformation is a driving force for the development of cultural and creative sectors and industries, enabling access to new audiences, promoting diversity and inclusion, fostering cross-cultural knowledge production and transfer as well as the development of global cultural markets;

4.2. Further recognising the importance of creating a digital ecosystem grounded on principles of inclusivity, equity, accessibility, trustworthiness, diversity and sustainability, that includes safeguards to protect users from risks posed by disinformation, misinformation, hate speech, privacy loss and other online harms, which also fosters the creation and promotion of diverse linguistic and cultural content, information and news online, as well as upholds intellectual property rights, tackles online piracy and protects artistic freedom, including social and economic rights of artists and cultural professionals, notably by granting safeguards for their fair remuneration;

4.3. Stressing the need to overcome digital divides, promoting international cooperation and continuous knowledge sharing, enabling access to culture through unbiased digital tools supported by digital literacy, skills training, with due consideration for inclusive digital access, narrowing the gender digital divide, in particular for developing countries;

Call for the following actions

5. We stand united against the destruction of cultural heritage, whether intentional or collateral, notably in situations of conflicts which curtail prospects of peace and sustainable development for the affected populations by undermining global stability and we support preventive conservation measures in line with international standards and the rehabilitation of damaged cultural heritage, in accordance with International Law, notably the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972) as well as of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954), and national legislations as relevant through international dialogue and cooperation. We also underline the importance of risk preparedness in the face of disasters, with a view to ensuring safety and security measures, preventive inventorying, conservation and restoration as well as countering the looting and theft of cultural property in the event of conflicts and disasters;

6. We call for a strengthened and effective global coalition to bolster the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property, particularly by:

6.1. Encouraging the ratification and effective implementation of international agreements and conventions as relevant – notably the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954), and its two protocols, the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970), the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (1995), and the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001)– while also ensuring progress and better implementation of international standards, in close cooperation with relevant organizations including UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOM, ICOMOS and UNIDROIT;

6.2. Ensuring cooperation and the strengthening of appropriate tools, notably to enable risk prevention, avoiding duplications and redundancies, while increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement collaboration and investigations through voluntary data and information exchange, as well as expertise, as appropriate, including for the monitoring of borders and of auction houses, galleries, antique dealers, warehouses, free zones and other related businesses, as relevant, in cooperation with UNESCO, INTERPOL, UNODC and WCO, including through bilateral cooperation, mutual legal assistance treaties, as well as through specialized tools, law enforcement and customs units and officers, databases of stolen cultural objects, updated and interconnected with INTERPOL, to better support transnational investigations and prosecution on cultural crimes;

6.3. Further encouraging cross-sectoral cooperation and dialogue among cultural heritage and disaster-risk management stakeholders at the local , national, regional and international level, in cooperation with relevant international organizations, with a view to strengthening the protection of cultural heritage and the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property, enhancing research, documentation, awareness-raising and collaborations, including through interoperable digital tools and capacity-building of specialized cultural professionals, judiciary and law enforcement authorities, and other relevant stakeholders to sustain provenance research, inventorying, investigations and risk preparedness and management;

6.4. Strengthening preventive action and regulation of illicitly exported cultural property more, notably in the online trade of cultural property as relevant – including through (i) the implementation of existing international standards as applicable; (ii) enhanced voluntary knowledge sharing and expertise across the G20 Membership; (iii) the development and implementation of guidelines for online trading platforms and social media at the local, regional or national levels; (iv) the dissemination of standards and best practices to support self-regulation; (v) sustained collaboration with international organizations; as well as (vi) the reinforcement of anti-money laundering regulations related to cultural property;

7. We welcome progress made at national, regional or international levels towards resolving issues and enabling the return and restitution of cultural property to their countries and communities of origin, particularly through bilateral dialogue and multilateral mechanisms provided by UNESCO and UNIDROIT as appropriate. We call for sustained dialogue and action in that endeavour at the bilateral and multilateral levels, with a view to strengthen cultural diplomacy and intercultural exchanges, in particular by:

7.1. Supporting an open and inclusive dialogue on the return and restitution of cultural property, building on a broad historical perspective that renews relationships between countries, while also enabling alternate dispute resolution mechanisms, as appropriate;

7.2. Fostering enhanced knowledge on provenance, on claims of cultural property, as well as on good practices of return and restitution;

7.3. Strengthening online tools and digital technologies, and promoting interoperability among existing inventories and databases;

7.4. Supporting capacity-building of organisations and cultural institutions, including in developing countries, through the provision of technical assistance and the exchange of expertise as relevant, notably on provenance research, due diligence and the effective management and conservation of cultural property;

8. We reaffirm our commitment to strengthen institutional and policy frameworks to harness living heritage for sustainable development by:

8.1. Supporting the ratification and effective implementation of relevant international agreements, conventions and frameworks – notably the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage as relevant – including by strengthening institutional, legislative and policy measures and frameworks to support the safeguarding, inventorying and transmission of living heritage and indigenous languages – notably in the context of the United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Languages – enabling capacity building of community bearers' particularly in developing countries, as well as fostering synergies between tangible and intangible cultural heritage more broadly;

8.2. Building evidence on the contribution of living heritage to sustainable development across diverse policy domains – including climate action and environmental sustainability, food and water security, risk management for cultural heritage, health and well-being, decent employment, skills training and quality education, biodiversity conservation, urban development, natural resource management – as well as on the threats to the safeguarding of living heritage, including by enabling more systemic engagement in research and voluntary knowledge sharing, harnessing the potential of digital technologies;

9. We recognise that the misuse and misappropriation of living cultural heritage, practices and cultural expressions, particularly of local communities as well as of Indigenous Peoples, including as regards the production and sale, contributes to the destruction and degradation of their cultural heritage, while also building on discussions held in the appropriate international fora, we encourage the international community to protect the living cultural heritage, including the intellectual property, and to that effect, we welcome a broader international dialogue on these issues, in a manner that is inclusive of local communities as well as of Indigenous Peoples, notably with regard to the impact of the over commercialization of such living heritage on the sustainability and on the livelihoods of practitioners and community bearers as well as Indigenous Peoples; We affirm that the protection of traditional knowledge and living heritage shall remain in line with intellectual property laws and take account of ongoing development in the relevant international fora;

10. We call for enhanced cooperation and dialogue on strengthening and aligning conceptual and monitoring frameworks, including classifications of cultural and creative sectors and industries and the creative economy at the global level, taking into account its multifaceted and transversal dimension, building on existing frameworks, where possible, through relevant international organizations – notably UNESCO, OECD, UNCTAD – and statistical institutions at the global and regional level, including in the Global South with a view to sustaining the development of cultural industries and the creative economy in developing countries, while also shedding light on the economic weight of cultural industries and the creative economy worldwide, including through data collection as appropriate;

11. We reaffirm our commitment to support policies that promote the contribution of those working in the culture, arts and heritage sectors, with a view to strengthening frameworks to sustain decent work and inclusive growth and development in the cultural and creative sectors and industries and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, notably by:

11.1. Enabling the ratification and/or effective implementation of relevant international agreements, conventions and recommendations – including the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist, as relevant – towards shaping policies and measures that support the creation, production, distribution of and access to cultural goods and services;

11.2. Strengthening cooperation and dialogue towards enhancing the status of artists and cultural professionals – addressing socio-economic rights and artistic freedom – online and offline –based on intellectual property rights frameworks and in accordance with international labour standards, as well as applicable to all professionals in the cultural and creative sectors and industries, independently from their employment status – towards the development of adequate remuneration systems, and the extension of adequate and comprehensive social protection to cultural professionals, notably by enabling linkages between culture and labour policies, facilitating a transition to the formal economy as relevant and mobilizing relevant international organizations, notably UNESCO and ILO;

11.3. Investing in skills training and research to support capacity building, institutionalized technical assistance and professionalization of artists and cultural professionals, notably towards expanding access to technical and vocational training and upskilling in the cultural and creative sectors and industries, targeting practitioners, in particular women and youth and other marginalized and vulnerable groups, building on public support and existing cultural training institutions, developing and updating training standards, investing in talent development and lifelong learning as well as through the development of specialized networks such as the G20 Network of Cultural Business Management Training Institutions;

11.4. Supporting cooperation towards the development of the creative economy, including by enabling inclusive North-South and South-South international collaboration and exchange of cultural goods and services, notably to expand equitable opportunities for the development of regional and sub-regional markets and the mobility of artists and cultural professionals in a spirit of solidarity and cultural exchange;

12. We reiterate the importance to strengthen and adapt cultural policy and legal frameworks to encompass digital technologies, as appropriate, including by:

12.1. Building on existing instruments related to culture in the digital environment, including as relevant the 2017 Operational Guidelines on the Implementation of the UNESCO 2005 Convention in the Digital Environment and the culture-related provisions of the UNESCO 2021 Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, with a view to fostering an inclusive approach, that ensures respect for human rights, as well as supports knowledge building, the sharing of good practices, and enabling cooperation across public, private and research institutions to leverage expertise;

12.2. We support strengthened cooperation towards advancing ethical, legal and technical considerations to position culture, in its rich diversity, in the digital environment, notably by advancing the development and implementation of open data principles, that respect intellectual property rights frameworks, in the creative and cultural sector, including the shared information systems and digital cultural platforms, while also addressing issues related with the protection of intellectual property – notably as regards the digitalisation of living cultural heritage of local communities and Indigenous Peoples, while also encompassing critical technical aspects related with scale, interoperability, connectivity and data security and privacy;

13. We encourage continued dialogue and exchange of expertise on climate action across the culture workstream as a critical cross-cutting issue striving towards environmental sustainability, notably by joining efforts to protect and safeguard the world's cultural and natural heritage from the impact of climate change, noting growing culture-related concerns raised in the context of the UN Climate Action Summit and the COP, by (i) building on the opportunities of culture-related practices and knowledge systems, including local and indigenous knowledge and practices, to inform adaptation and mitigation strategies and plans as well as solutions for climate action; (ii) assessing the impact of climate change on cultural, natural and living heritage, as well as cultural institutions; and (iii) sustaining efforts towards monitoring the impact of the cultural and creative sectors and industries, including in the digital space;

14. We call for full recognition and integration of culture and the creative economy into the development processes and policies, involving all levels of societies, including local communities, as a transformative driver and an enabler for the achievement of the SDGs set out in the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this regard, we will take the opportunity presented by the upcoming SDG Summit and Member State–driven processes at the UN to advance the inclusion of culture as a standalone goal in future discussions on a possible post-2030 development agenda.

Geopolitical Issues

15. The war in Ukraine has further adversely impacted the global economy. There was a discussion on the issue. We reiterated our national positions as expressed in other fora, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, which, in Resolution No. ES-11/1 dated 2 March 2022, as adopted by majority vote (141 votes for, 5 against, 35 abstentions, 12 absent) deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine. Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy – constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks. There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. Recognizing that the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.[1] [2]

16. It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability. This includes defending all the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and adhering to international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and infrastructure in armed conflicts. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today's era must not be of war.

Way Forward

17. We call for further efforts towards strengthening the G20 Culture Working Group, as reflected within the attached revised Terms of Reference of the Culture Working Group, with a view to harness knowledge building around the priorities under each Presidency, review progress in advancing the priorities of successive presidencies, ensure dialogue within the Membership inclusive of the Global South, and consider strengthening synergies between the G20 Culture Workstream and other relevant G20 Workstreams;

18. We would also like to recognise and thank the contributions of all the participating international organizations – namely UNESCO, ILO, UNCTAD, UNIDROIT, ICCROM, ICOMOS and ICOM – to the work of the Culture Working Group during India's G20 Presidency;

19. We, the Ministers of Culture of the G20, will submit this Outcome Document to the G20 Leaders' 2023 Summit. We acknowledge the transversality of culture across public policies with a view to consider its multifaceted impact on forging more inclusive societies and sustaining peace and dialogue. We thank the Indian Presidency for its dedication and leadership throughout 2023 and call for the legacy drawn today to be pursued under Brazil's Presidency of the G20 and beyond.


Following countries stated their distinct positions on Paragraph 15 as presented below:

[1] Russia rejected the inclusion of geopolitical Para 15, on the basis that it does not conform to the G20 mandate and recognizes the status of Para 15 as Chair's Summary. Russia agrees with the rest of the text.

[2] China stated that the G20 Culture Working Group is not the right forum to discuss geopolitical issues and did not support the inclusion of the geopolitical-related content.

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Source: Official website of India's 2023 G20 Presidency

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