The 2020 Rome Charter

The right to participate fully and freely in cultural life is vital to our cities and communities

The 2020 Rome Charter

Today sees the public launch of The 2020 Rome Charter, a global initiative of Roma Capitale and the UCLG Committee on Culture that aims to place cultural rights and capabilities at the heart of communities. The project began last year, before the Covid-19 pandemic, but the crisis has given a new urgency to the ideas expressed in this document. I was invited to help with the drafting and during the lockdown, we have held many online meetings, small and large, with contributors from across the world. I don’t often express myself in these terms, but I’m proud to have been part of this document which asserts fundamental human rights with a directness and in language rare in such texts. At its heart are five essential capabilities on which equitable cultural citizenship depends. 

A city working towards cultural democracy fulfils its duty to support its inhabitants to:

DISCOVER cultural roots, so that they can recognise their heritage, identity and place in the city, as well as understand the contexts of others;

CREATE cultural expressions, so that they can be part of and enrich the life of the city;

SHARE cultures and creativity, so that social and democratic life is deepened by the exchange;

ENJOY the city’s cultural resources and spaces, so that all can be inspired, educated and refreshed;

PROTECT the city’s common cultural resources, so that all can benefit from them, today and in years to come.

The 2020 Rome Charter imagines a more inclusive, democratic and sustainable city. Its achievement is in the hands of all who live here.

The 2020 Rome Charter

The launch of the charter is only the completion of the first stage in a process. It is an invitation to participate in the next stage, extended to all concerned with culture, democracy and a just recovery in the world’s wounded communities.