Under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in Islamic World wrapped up its activities on Tuesday.
Hosted by Qatar, represented by the Ministry of Culture, and held by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ICESCO), the event continued from Sept. 25-26.
During his chairmanship of the two sessions of the closing day of the conference, HE the Minister of Culture Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Thani thanked ICESCO for its success in preparing the conference and lauded its efforts in supporting and renewing the cultural action in the member states through its innovative programs and initiatives.
In his closing remarks, Director-General of ICESCO Dr. Salem bin Mohamed Al Malik thanked Qatar for hosting the current session of the conference and for providing all essential potential to have a best image of this conference, praising the spirit of responsibility and cooperation that prevailed the conference venue.
He underlined that ICESCO will adhere to the approved programs, visions, and projects, adding that it has taken all notes regarding Doha declaration. Moreover, it has been decided to convene the upcoming session of the conference at the headquarters of ICESCO in Morocco.
The ministers of culture and heads of delegations participating in the 12th conference of the ministers of culture in the Islamic world approved Doha declaration to renew cultural action, as the declaration underscored the significance of authentic and renewed roles advanced by culture in achieving sustainable development of the Islamic world communities and building deep rooted and creative personalities, as well as spurring individuals, institutions and communities in pivoting towards government policies that prioritise creative values and trailblazing cultural programs in national development plans.
The declaration emphasized the significance of prioritizing culture as one of the most critical pillars of peace, security and development in its overarching and sustainable dimensions and recommended the importance of periodical and systematic review of national and cultural plans and strategies based on the priorities of the national development plans and the SDGs for 2030, to help them keep up with the national, regional and international developments, responsive to needs in alignment with the digital age requirements in the present and its transformation in the future.
At the conclusion of the conference, the ministers of culture in the Islamic world recommended the essential establishment and upgradation of professional digital platforms with multiple languages to streamline access to the Islamic cultural content with it various forms, setting integrated plans, allocating essential financial and technical resources to digitize business and cultural products with their various patterns and provide them to the broader audience in a wide range of digital configuration, such as digital books, videos and virtual versions of exhibitions, museums and heritage sites.
The conference rejected the uncivilized behavior pursued by those with extreme racial proclivities in burning copies of the Holy Qur'an and called on entities entrusted of cultural action in those countries to earnestly act to prevent such acts that have nothing to do with freedom of opinion and do not ensure joint coexistence where cultural diversity burgeons.
Additionally, the conferees called for the importance of enhancing partnership and coordination with ICESCO to help professional national entities capitalize on its expertise in heritage protection, in addition to utilizing remote sensing technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in surveilling impacts of climate change, disasters and pandemics on cultural activities and heritage sites in the Islamic world.
The conference called for utilizing Qatari experience in conserving heritage and invest in its development dimension through trailblazing initiatives made by Qatar in the establishment and upgradation of various museums and organizing cultural exhibitions.
The declaration lauded ICESCO's initiative in establishing a heritage center in the Islamic world its headquarters, including the efforts undertaken by the Heritage Committee of the Islamic World in coordination with ISESCO to preserve heritage in member states, in addition to supporting ISESCO in its initiative to prepare a strategy to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property in the Islamic world, and to develop plans to preserve, protect and recover these property in a manner that does not conflict with international agreements and national laws and legislation.
The declaration also called for establishing a legislative framework for the system of living human treasures that includes identification and recognition of intangible cultural heritage holders, the conditions, and procedures necessary to obtain this status and the resulting intellectual property rights, in addition to the assistance of specialists.
Regarding reinforcing the role of cultural economy in achieving the SDGs, the Doha Declaration issued by Conference affirmed support for the ICESCO initiative to generalize the mechanisms and strategies of the cultural economy, while adopting the new mechanisms proposed by ICESCO to develop its program for capitals of culture in the Islamic world. In this context, it hailed the success of the celebrations of the capitals of culture in the Islamic world (2019-2022) in Doha, Jerusalem, Tunis, Bissau, Rabat, and Cairo, and the great efforts made by the competent authorities in the host countries in this regard.
The conference stressed the importance of presenting an action program and executive visions, in coordination with the Consultative Council for Cultural Development in the Islamic World, that would boost the preservation of Islamic culture and its landmarks in Al Quds Al Sharif, which are being subjected to systematic obliteration and Judaization, and support cultural and environmental tourism, and introduce the Islamic world's abundant unique cultural treasures.
The conference also stressed the importance of supporting entrepreneurship and startups in traditional and cultural industries, protecting traditional handmade products, strengthening the cultural economy to achieve sustainable development, providing job opportunities and developing skills in the cultural sector, and developing cultural industries.
The conference agreed to support an initiative by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and ICESCO to unify and develop cultural indicators in the Islamic world that led to signing a bilateral agreement between the two sides. The statement also backed ICESCO's proposal to allocate an 18th development goal to be added to the development goals of the international community for the year 2030 in a bid to enhance the role of culture in development and to demand that the UN add it to its 17 SDGs.
The concluding statement also urged educational institutions in the Islamic world to develop educational curricula that preserve family values and stand as a strong barrier in the face of calls for the disintegration of those values, while supporting the calls of ICESCO in coordination with member states to include culture on the agenda of the World Summit on the Future due in 2024.
It also called for adopting the use of modern technology techniques and applications, especially artificial intelligence and the metaverse, in studying and anticipating the future of culture in a changing world and work with all responsibility to build basic foundations that preserve the cultural identity of the Islamic world.
The conference issued a statement of solidarity with the Kingdom of Morocco and Libya in the face of the effects of the Al Haouz earthquake and Storm Daniel, stressing the willingness of the participating countries to provide all the necessary capabilities and assistance to the two countries.
The third working session witnessed speeches by heads of delegations and representatives of participating organizations and bodies, where visions and rich discussions were exchanged for the renewal of cultural work in the Islamic world, and agreement on the means and mechanisms to achieve this goal.