European Commission: "G7 Culture Ministers’ Meeting is the Foundation of Cultural Diplomacy"
G7 Members adopted a common “Florence Declaration”, recognizing the distinctive role of culture as an instrument for dialogueMay 18th, 2017
UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, participated in the first G7 Culture Ministers’ meeting held on 30 and 31 of March 2016 in Florence, Italy.
Representatives from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States were present in this event in order to discuss a common theme entitled “Culture as a Tool for Dialogue among Peoples”. At the end of the two-days meeting, G7 Members adopted a common “Florence Declaration”, recognizing the distinctive role of culture as an instrument for dialogue, reconciliation and response to emergencies. Members of the G7 highlighted the significance of a joint and coordinated effort to strengthen the safeguarding of cultural heritage.
At the opening session, Mr. Dario Franceschini – the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism - emphasized the importance of innovative industries to drive economic growth and the relevance of intercultural understanding to fight hatred and prevent conflicts. Quoting the Italian intellectual Umberto Eco, he said, "we are all bearers of knowledge and if we disseminate this knowledge, helping people to read, to go to the cinema, to theater, to learn about different cultures, we can enhance mutual understanding."
The Florence Declaration, adopted by the G7 Culture Ministers, supported UNESCO’s role in encouraging the protection and preservation of cultural heritage. Moreover, it praised measures already taken to contrast violent extremism and raise awareness, for instance the #Unite4Heritage campaign. This Declaration also confirmed UNESCO as the principal actor that protects cultural heritage, working closely with Member States and relevant international organizations.