Cultural policy is at the centre of renewed cooperation in the Mediterranean region. On 16 and 17 June the Italian Ministry of Culture, in coordination with the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, organised the 1st Conference of the Ministers of Culture of the Euro-Mediterranean region in Naples, with representatives of over 60 countries. In addition to Ministers and leaders from the EU and Southern Neighbourhood partner countries, other countries from the region, and relevant international organisations including UNESCO and the Union for the Mediterranean took part in this two-day programme.
With three technical preparatory sessions dedicated to culture as a factor of peace and security, a driver of sustainable development and green transition, the purpose of the Conference was to develop joint strategies and actions to protect and enhance culture as a common good of the Euro-Mediterranean region and to launch a “Naples Process” for cultural collaboration in the Mediterranean.
Topics on the agenda included the protection of cultural heritage from damage generated by international crises and illicit trafficking, the fight against climate change, the role of culture in sustainable development and in achieving the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda, and international mobility and the training of artists and culture workers.
Among the set objectives was the creation of new EU actions dedicated to supporting culture in the Mediterranean region, based on the strategic objectives of the New European Agenda for Culture and the New Agenda for the Mediterranean, the promotion of international cultural relations in the area, the design of joint strategies to preserve and valorize culture as well as the establishment of a yearly Mediterranean capital of culture.
“Our idea is to every year have a city of either the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Balkans that becomes in that year the capital of Mediterranean culture,” said Italian Culture minister Dario Franceschini.
To achieve the ambitious agenda set up by the Conference, the final declaration of the first Euro-Mediterranean Culture Ministerial aimed at highlighting the strategic value and importance of culture, cultural heritage and landscape and the need to better understand and enhance them.