The Italian Presidency of the 2021 G20 has prioritised a focus on fostering common action to promote and protect culture and cultural heritage for sustainable development.

For only the second time, the Presidency will invite Ministers of Culture (and their equivalents) of G20 countries to discuss this theme during a meeting in Rome in July 2021. 

In preparation for this Cultural Ministerial, the Presidency organised a series of webinars to bring together key stakeholders to discuss the three main focuses for this meeting:


  1. Protection of Cultural Heritage and Fighting Illicit trafficking of cultural property;
  2. Addressing the Climate crisis through culture;
  3. Building capacity through training and education.

Each of these topics are essential to IFLA’s work, and we were excited to have representatives and partners of the library field participate as attendees or speakers in each.

Fighting Illicit trafficking of cultural property

The expected outcome of this focus area is encouragement to ministers to further cooperate and respond to threats to cultural heritage, as well as improve coordination in effectively fighting illicit trade of cultural goods.

IFLA is deeply concerned with the trafficking of documentary cultural heritage. The director of the Preservation and Conservation (PAC) Centre hosted at Qatar National Library was invited to attend this webinar to explore possible opportunities to connect international cultural property protection work to the work of the PAC Centre Qatar.

Culture and Climate Action

In a ground-breaking move, the Italian presidency of the G20 featured a focus on ‘addressing the climate crisis through culture.’ As founding members of the Climate Heritage Network, IFLA was excited to see the cultural dimension of climate action being discussed at this level.

Members of the Climate Heritage Network spoke in this webinar on efforts to promote enhanced representation of culture and cultural heritage in climate change discourse and policy. Read more about this webinar on the website of the Climate Heritage Network.

Building capacity through training and education

This priority focuses on promoting the development of specialised skills and improving knowledge management and knowledge transfer in the cultural heritage sector, especially in the digital environment. As essential providers of lifelong learning and digital access, this topic is especially relevant to the global library field.

IFLA President Christine Mackenzie participated in the panel discussion: building capacity for culture-led social and economic regeneration. In her intervention, IFLA’s President highlighted the deep divisions in our societies arising from unequal access to resources, to tools, and to information, which causes those already facing disadvantage fall further behind.

She further stressed that the ability and encouragement for all to participate in culture is necessary for building an inclusive and sustainable economy and society. This is where libraries come in, providing a pre-existing infrastructure for supporting a culture-led recovery.

Libraries are gateways to opportunity, providers of access to materials and ideas, spaces for developing new skills, and places for people of all ages and all backgrounds to enjoy, create and benefit from culture.

IFLA’s President ended her intervention with a call to participants in the G20 Culture Ministerial to fully support institutions that provide all people with the opportunity to develop the skills and capital needed to realise their potential.

You are welcome to watch the recordings of each webinar online here.