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22 June 2024

UAE highlights vital role culture can play in accelerating climate action

Published
By WAM

Salem bin Khaled Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture and Youth, delivered a speech during his participation in the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Culture, held in Varanasi, India, in which he emphasised the importance of continued collaboration among all parties to harness culture and creativity, as a means of addressing climate challenges.

Shedding light on the UAE’s position on the G20 priorities, Al Qassimi highlighted the UAE’s commitment to limiting disparities and fostering stronger south-south cooperation. He commended the joint efforts of G20 Culture Working Group underscoring the importance of culture in promoting partnership and cooperation between nations, which will be in the spotlight at the upcoming COP28 which the UAE will host at the end of November this year.

Speaking about the gravity of climate change as an issue that impacts all walks of life, the minister said, “Today, across the world, cultural heritage, is in jeopardy because of climate change. Concerning, as historic sites provide a poignant reminder of our unique cultural identities. Without them, that connection risks being slowly eroded over time, also resulting in the damage to the practice and transmission of living heritage from one generation to another.”

Al Qassimi highlighted the UAE’s commitment and efforts in the protection of the heritage of humanity giving the example of its recent partnership with the African World Heritage Fund to support conservation and protection of cultural and natural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value in Africa. This partnership focuses on sites impacted by climate change and capacity building programmes.

He touched upon the role of culture and creativity in shaping purposeful solutions for global challenges and how the UAE harnesses the power of creative institutions to enhance a robust cultural and creative ecosystem in the country. “The UAE National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries aims to enhance the growth of cultural and creative industries and increase their contribution to 5 percent of the national GDP by 2031,” he stated.

He also highlighted the UAE’s partnership with WIPO to utilise its methodology to measure the economic contribution on the copyright-based industries in the creative economy to accurately measure the creative economy’s performance and contribution to GDP. And mentioned that the newly launched National Grant Programme for Creativity and Culture to empower creatives and SMEs with the opportunities to establish, sustain and grow their skills.

Furthermore, he highlighted the UAE’s partnerships with UNESCO to rebuild the heritage sites of Mosul, Iraq and its key role in the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH), which has funded almost 180 projects to date. Aligned with the priorities of the G20 Presidency, Al Qassimi affirmed the UAE's significant focus on empowering cultural practitioners.

He underscored the importance of cultural education as a vital tool for ensuring the transmission of culture and heritage across generations and actively equipping learners with the knowledge and skills they require in the present and future.

Concluding his speech, the minister said, “As we approach COP28, taking place in Expo City in Dubai, we look forward to meeting you again to move forward with sentiments shared in the Culture Working Group and take collective action in highlighting the intersection between culture and climate and the role the creative industry plays in climate action.”