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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

UN partners with global visual arts sector to increase climate action

UN Climate Change announced on Friday, April 19, 2024, that the global Art Charter for Climate Action (ACCA) will join its efforts to unite the arts and entertainment sectors in transformative climate action. The announcement was made at The Hope Forum held during the 60th Venice Biennale international art exhibition.

Simon Stiell
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell

The Charter will become the visual arts pillar of UN Climate Change’s Entertainment & Culture for Climate Action alliance, which aims at accelerating the transition of arts, film, music, and other relevant sectors to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and to inspire climate action beyond the sector through artistic expression and innovation.

“In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, it is essential that all sectors take transformative climate action now,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell. “In addition to reducing its global emissions, arts and culture play a critical role in inspiring people to imagine and realise a low carbon, just and climate-resilient future.”

The Art Charter brings together more than 1,000 members in over 70 countries committed to using creativity, science-based information, and collaboration to create system-wide change. For the visual arts, this means focusing on international freight, energy consumption, packaging and recycling, and digital initiatives. Members include a wide range of public and private actors and organisations worldwide, from individual artists to major museums, commercial entities to not-for-profit organisations.

“ACCA is an initiative that, for the first time ever, brings together the entire visual art sector’s value chain around the common goal of steering the global industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to net zero,” said Luise Faurschou, Director the non-profit ART 2030 and Steering Committee member of ACCA. “Our aim is to be able to assemble our collective learnings, to advocate for our obligation to meet the Paris Agreement, and to implement system changes that directly impact our goals.”

The Hope Forum event, organised by ACCA founding member ART 2030, featured statements from many changemakers from the art sector, including renowned artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Cecilia Vicuña, and AI Weiwei, and a panel discussion featuring institutions such as Christie’s and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, who spoke of their efforts to reduce emissions and waste across the art supply chain. These were joined by representatives of climate policy and science institutes.

The ACCA and UN Climate Change announcement was endorsed by Frances Morris, Director Emerita of the Tate Modern, who emphasised that “ACCA can and should be a common framework. But crucially, it can also be a network of networks for a green and just transition. From all corners of the world, linking grassroots to big shoots, we (the visual arts sector) can be united in our actions for the planet.”

The founding organisations of the Art Charter are ART 2030, the Gallery Climate Coalition, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM), and Julie’s Bicycle. Interested stakeholders worldwide are encouraged to join the Art Charter for Climate Action’s Community to access resources, knowledge, and capacities for collaborative engagement.

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