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COP28: Global call to place arts and culture at the heart of climate action

Creative Recovery Network welcomes news from COP28 that the United Arab Emirates and Brazil have announced the launch of the Group of Friends of Culture-Based Climate Action at the UNFCCC (GFCBCA), an international coalition of UN Member States aimed at building political momentum for the recognition of culture as a uniquely powerful force and positive resource for  a more effective climate change policy.

The formation of the Group of Friends is a timely and urgently needed framework for response to the shortfalls in achieving both the mitigation and the adaptation goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Global Stocktake synthesis report released by the UNFCCC in September found that the world is not on track to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. To strengthen the global response, it said, governments need to support “systems transformations,” “whole-of-society approaches,” “integrated, inclusive policymaking” and immediately strengthen “social” enabling conditions while “finding creative ways to overcome” “social and capacity barriers” and “siloed responses.”

The Group of Friends will  provide a platform for the international coalition of UN Member States to:

  • Promote international consensus on the urgency of including culture in climate change policy for unprecedented inclusivity in global climate action. 
  • Confront the threat climate change poses to cultural sites, traditional practices, and indigenous knowledge systems.
  • Advocate for culture-based solutions to the climate crisis at COP28 and provide a voice in climate discussions for behaviour change.

The launch of the Group of Friends under the co-chairmanship of the UAE and Brazil, hosts of COP28 and COP30 respectively, is a key step towards realising the ambitions of artists, culture and heritage advocates, professionals and volunteers, scientists, and other cultural voices from across the world who have united ahead of COP28 around the Global Call to Put Cultural Heritage, Arts and Creative Sectors at the Heart of Climate Action.  The Global Call urges climate negotiators to put cultural heritage, arts and creative industries at the heart of climate action by adopting a ground-breaking “Joint Work Decision on Culture and Climate Action,” a UN process which would trigger policies and frameworks to enable culture to contribute fully to climate solutions.  

The aims of the Group of Friends align with years of climate action and advocacy by cultural heritage, arts and creatives industries, including NGOs, creative and design businesses, cultural and research institutions, and local governments and municipal authorities. It creates space to bridge the culture and climate communities. It also builds on incremental progress at COP26 and COP27 such as the inclusion of culture in the Global Goal on Adaptation framework, as well as an enhanced focus on culture and heritage by the IPCC

Diverse organisations that have signed the Global Call strongly support the basis for the Group of Friend’s approach and firmly believe that by unlocking the power of culture from arts to heritage to help people imagine and realise low carbon, just, climate resilient futures.  

You can read full coverage of the December 8 launch of the Group of Friends at Julie’s Bicycle.

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