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Ministers of Culture of the Americas Approve the Declaration of Antigua Guatemala

  October 28, 2022

Gathered at the IX Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Culture, which took place in Antigua, Guatemala on October 27 and 28, the authorities of the member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved the Declaration of Antigua, Guatemala “Technology, creativity and innovation as an opportunity for developing and strengthening culture.”

The Declaration recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the creative and culture sectors, but highlights the potential of the sector to become consistent drivers of reactivation of economic activity, through the production, dissemination and/or commercialization of cultural and artistic services, activities and products of creative goods.

The document is focused on specific commitments to:

• Ensure that technology, creativity, and innovation are fundamental tools in the recovery of the creative and culture sectors post-COVID-19.
• Adopt measures that encourage the use of technology and innovation to promote the collection, protection, preservation, and value of social memory, cultural and artistic heritage, and traditional and ancestral knowledge of the peoples
• Promote additional and strengthen existing plans, programs and research projects with data collection instruments, data collection and analysis, including cultural statistics to understand the importance of the creative and cultural sectors by measuring their economic impact and contribution; and to improve support for evidence-based policy design to strengthen these key areas in member states
• Adopt measures that strengthen the links between the creative and the culture sectors; and encourage cooperation among countries on the use and leveraging of information, communication, digital, and other emerging technologies for strengthening heritage and cultural expressions particularly amongst micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.
• Share information on cultural development research models and other methods which use technology to generate cultural products focused on pre-Colombian, Indigenous and Afro-descendant cultural heritage, as well as promote digital strategies to increase access for consumption and dissemination of cultural goods and services.

During the closing session of the event, the Minister of Culture and Sports of Guatemala, Felipe Aguilar, stated that "After two days of conversations, speeches and exchange of ideas, the right time has come to take urgent action in our countries to rescue the culture and value it. Actions should be aimed at institutionalizing rescue projects and enhancement of our cultures.”

For his part the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Nestor Mendez, called the Declaration approved “a clear example of consensus, derived from the fruitful exchange of aspirations, ideas, and policies to take advantage of the opportunities to improve the incorporation of technology, creativity, and innovation in the development and strengthening of culture in our countries.”

The Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS, Kim Osborne, highlighted that “culture is about people and our people must the direct beneficiaries of all that we do even as we innovate and embrace new technologies. These technologies must be a vehicle for expanding opportunities for all, regardless of race, religion gender or socio-economic status.”

The X Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of Culture will be held in the Dominican Republic in 2025.

Reference: E-066/22