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The value of cultural heritage in a democratic society

Resolution 2270 (2019)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 1 March 2019 (see Doc. 14834, report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, rapporteur: Lord Alexander Dundee). See also Recommendation 2149 (2019).
1. Cultural diversity and the richness of cultural heritage are important assets for European economies and societies. The Parliamentary Assembly recalls the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (CETS No. 199, “Faro Convention”), which promotes a wider understanding of cultural heritage and its relationship to communities and society. It also emphasises the importance of cultural heritage as it relates not only to the economies of regions and local communities but also to human rights and democracy in Europe.
2. In Resolution 2123 (2016) and Recommendation 2093 (2016) on culture and democracy, the Assembly broadens the definition of culture to include spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features which characterise a society. This definition thus covers not only cultural heritage, the arts and letters, but also lifestyles, ways of thinking and acting, value systems, traditions and beliefs. Seen in this context, culture then becomes a powerful tool to encourage constructive thinking, to initiate public debate and to strengthen democratic practice.
3. The Assembly considers that culture and heritage have a useful role to play in regions and localities by sustaining their economies, improving co-operation with their communities and inspiring better and more creative solutions to their everyday problems, but only if decision makers in the public and private sectors appreciate their value. The Assembly therefore emphasises the core principles of the Faro Convention, underlining that these should be widely used and implemented locally, whether in towns, cities or rural areas.
4. Accordingly, the Assembly recommends that the member States of the Council of Europe:
4.1 sign and ratify the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society, if they have not already done so;
4.2 assist local authorities to apply the principles laid down in the convention and Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)1 on the European Heritage Strategy for the 21st Century, and encourage, at State level, policies to:
4.2.1 promote a greater degree of inclusiveness within a wider range of expression in order to maximise the useful contribution which culture can make to the State;
4.2.2 include culture and heritage more effectively in policies for education, employment, the economy, research and innovation, social services, health and welfare;
4.2.3 combine strategies and actions for local sustainable development across different sectors, thus reflecting a new spirit of co-operation which seeks to overcome restrictions all too often present within national legislation and to provide necessary support and incentives which can lead to constructive outcomes;
4.2.4 review and update education curricula and vocational training so that they respond correctly to changing employment needs within the cultural sector, allowing for a stronger combination of arts, economy, technology and science to be formed in order to stimulate much more effective interactions between technologies, the creative arts and entrepreneurship.
5. The Assembly thus recommends that local and regional authorities:
5.1 formulate sustainable development strategies using culture and heritage as core elements;
5.2 promote a positive vision of culture and its ability to broaden skills and encourage innovative approaches to the economy;
5.3 resist being restrained by any unnecessary and arbitrary divisions between culture and the economy;
5.4 bring together a wide range of associations and participants in order to agree upon shared objectives for local development;
5.5 encourage partnerships between industries, cultural institutions, local schools and vocational training institutions so that young people become involved in redevelopment projects, especially in deprived areas;
5.6 persuade cultural institutions to involve many more people in their programmes and to explore new forms of engagement within the community through their outreach services;
5.7 facilitate additional opportunities for jobs and skills within the cultural and heritage sectors, by providing incentives for new “creative spaces”, relevant local education modules, and effective partnerships and training.
6. The Assembly pays tribute to the key role played by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, and to its achievements through co-operation in addressing the challenges facing the cultural and democratic life of cities and rural areas. For its part, the Assembly will promote such co-operation, notably in connection with the four awards which make up the Europe Prize.
7. Following the success of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the Assembly invites the European Union to initiate further co-operation with the Council of Europe through the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage and the new European Agenda for Culture, and also with European and international city networks and associations to promote the implementation of the Faro principles in local and regional sustainable development projects.
8. The Assembly also invites the European Commission to consider whether existing funding programmes that cut across several Directorates General (Regional and Urban Policy; Education; Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (and its Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency); and Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion), might be reviewed; this is in order to co-ordinate those programmes more efficiently so that the funded projects themselves could be more coherent and better co-ordinated to serve as best practice examples for other European cities or regional areas.