At a meeting of the mayors of many of the most important cities around the world, IFLA, on behalf of the Culture2030Goal campaign, underlined the importance of investing in culture and libraries, and integrating them into policy planning in order to support greener, fairer development.

The Urban 20 initiative brings together major global cities, highlighting the importance of working at the local and regional level to achieve global development goals. Part of the wider G20 initiative, it is an opportunity to send key messages to world leaders.

Chaired this year jointly by Rome and Milan, this year’s Summit focused on the key themes already set out in the U20 communiqué – that for development to be successful, especially in the wake of COVID-19, it needs to be fair, local and green.

These points came out strongly in the interventions of mayors, who underlined the need to invest in quality public services for all – in particular health – as well as the role that action at the local level can play in the behaviour change needed to tackle climate change.

Together, the mayors called for a new sustainable development paradigm which would give everyone living in cities possibilities to enjoy and fulfil all their rights, including digital rights.

The meeting, and the communiqué, place an important emphasis on culture. This was welcomed by the international advisory to the Italian Ministry of Culture, Paolo Toschi, who underlined how harnessing culture could accelerate the shift to this new paradigm.

IFLA’s own intervention echoed this point, encouraging cities to continue to be leaders in integrating culture – and in particular cultural rights for all – into wider policy frameworks. Importantly, work on culture needed to be inclusive, giving everyone the chance to enjoy and create.

The goal now, for IFLA, was to take this discussion forwards, both in terms of our own understanding of how to realise the potential of culture, and to make culture central to the global development agenda, as demanded by the Culture2030Goal campaign of which IFLA is a member.

The UCLG Culture Summit, taking place later this week in Izmir, Turkey with the participation of the IFLA Secretary General, will be an important opportunity to advance this work.

Read about the U20 communiqué and what it means for libraries. You can also view the press release from the summit.

IFLA U20 2021 Intervention

Statement delivered by IFLA at the 2021 Urban 20 (U20) Summit, held online and coordinated by the cities of Rome and Milan