20 April 2020

Place Culture at the Heart of the Response to COVID-19 argues new statement signed by IFLA

The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined how much so many of us rely on culture for strength and comfort at difficult times. With the right support from government, it can not only contribute now, but also make for a stronger recovery for all, as argued in a new statement from the Culture 2030 Goal campaign.

IFLA, alongside other international associations involved in the Culture 2030 Goal coalition, has been working for years to underline the need to include culture across government policymaking.

This, we have argued, can help ensure that cultural concerns are taken into account rather than ignored, and so increase acceptance and uptake of policies. Furthermore, by involving the cultural sector – from institutions such as libraries, archives and museums to sites and intangible heritage – governments can draw on a rich and powerful pool of energy and resources.

In a report prepared by the Culture 2030 Goal coalition, released in September 2019, we underlined that based on reports submitted as part of the Voluntary National Review process, as well as wider declarations, more needed to be done.

Nonetheless, there were examples of good practice at both the national and local levels which could provide inspiration for others. Building on this, the relaunched #Culture2030Goal campaign set out its ambition to make culture more central to the delivery of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Today, faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, many of the challenges set out in the 2030 Agenda are as acute as ever. So too is the need to ensure that culture plays its part. The statement released today by members of the coalition underlines this point.

Clearly healthcare workers and others providing e6ykssential services are often in the most difficult situations, and foremost in our thoughts. Nonetheless, as the statement stresses, we must also remember the potential for culture to provide solutions to concerns about well-being, social cohesion and resilience.

To do this, culture will need support from governments, both in order to keep institutions and individuals going, and to allow everyone to benefit fully.

This applies not only in the immediate term, with many still subject to tough restrictions, but also as we plan for the longer term. With many governments likely to need to revise their strategies for achieving the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda, it is high time to ensure culture is fully and effectively included.

You can read the statement on our publications page. It is also possible to endorse it via this form.

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