G20 cultural leaders pledge to support $2.3 trillion global cultural economy

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Cultural leaders from the Group of 20 (G20) most powerful nations in the world met Wednesday and agreed to support the world’s $2.3 trillion cultural economy.

At the meeting, the leaders also agreed that they would continue to meet annually, with next year’s discussion taking place in Italy, while the European country holds the G20 presidency. Saudi Arabia holds the presidency this year.

“This high-level cultural presence at Saudi G20 Presidency illustrates our shared belief in the vital role of culture in propelling the innovation ecosystem of economies,” Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr al-Saud said in his closing remarks, according to a statement.

“The onus is on us to preserve our shared heritage for future generations and to produce and disseminate culture in a sustainable manner,” he added.

Culture and creative activity represents an important part of the global economy, with UNESCO valuing revenue from the sectors at $2.25 trillion, with exports at more than $250 billion, the statement read. The sectors also employ some 30 million people globally, with forecasts estimating they will contribute to around 10 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) in the future.

This was the first meeting of the G20 culture ministers held, albeit virtually while the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep global travel to a minimum, and was organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and G20 Saudi Secretariat.

Saudi Arabia also announced the establishment of a center to manage, restore and protect its underwater cultural heritage in the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. The center, announced on the sidelines of the G20 cultural meet, will be responsible for developing the underwater cultural heritage sector in the Kingdom and the region.

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