Liechtenstein, an EEA country, has made strong efforts in the first two decades of the 21st century to systematically develop the quality of artistic and cultural creation nationally and internationally (see 1.1). Laws have been passed (see 4), structures and international links have been strengthened (see 1.2.2, 1.2.3 and 1.2.5): for example, for the participation of the entire population in cultural creation, the free exercise of artistic and cultural expression, the promotion of new innovative forms of culture and organisations, the division of tasks between the state and the municipalities, the promotion of performances by groups and associations abroad as well as cultural exchange projects and the protection of cultural assets.
For Liechtenstein, culture has become a means of integration and dialogue, and cultural policy an essential part of foreign policy. The same has been true of its commitment to human rights. As a member of the United Nations (since 1990), Liechtenstein actively promotes human rights in various areas. For example, the small country played a leading role in the revision to strengthen the International Criminal Court (ICC). On 8 May 2012, Liechtenstein became the first state to ratify the amendments to the Rome Statute concerning crimes of aggression.
In the years before, Liechtenstein had signed a number of conventions relevant to human rights: such as the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, the Convention on Cybercrime and the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems. In 2009, Liechtenstein ratified both the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. Also in 2009, it ratified the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
Liechtenstein was a member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) from 2015 to 2019. The CSW is the main intergovernmental UN body for women’s issues and gender equality and consists of 45 members. Liechtenstein is especially interested in advocating for the protection of women in armed conflicts.
On 26 April 2022, the UN General Assembly adopted the “Veto Initiative” introduced by Liechtenstein to counter the use of the veto by permanent members of the Security Council. The decision requires a meeting of the General Assembly each time a veto is used in the 15-member Security Council, at which the states that have used their veto power must explain the reasons for doing so.
Recent discussions and actions in Liechtenstein focus on global issues such as sustainability, digitalisation, education and integration as well as equal opportunities. Analyses, priorities and planned measures are documented in the “Report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” dated 2019. Liechtenstein assumes a pioneering role with some projects:
- With the “Liechtenstein Initiative for Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking” (FAST), the financial centre and the government make a significant joint contribution to ending modern slavery and human trafficking. In September 2019, the Commission (consisting of the governments of Liechtenstein, Australia, the Netherlands, the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research, banks, philanthropic foundations and associations) presented a blueprint for strengthening action against modern slavery and human trafficking at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
- Young people are being sensitised to sustainability and empowered to play an active role in shaping it through the projects “Energy and Climate Pioneers Liechtenstein” and “Energy and Climate Workshop” in collaboration with the private sector. On the initiative of the Liechtenstein School Board, a major educational project is being implemented in Liechtenstein by the Swiss foundation “myclimate” in 2019–2024. For the first time, children and young people, from kindergarten to secondary school, in an entire country are being sensitised to the topics of sustainability and climate protection.
The Liechtenstein government (2017–2021) chose a systematic approach to implement the UN 2030 Agenda. The country focuses on eight priorities from the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals:
- Inclusive, equal and quality education (4 Quality Education)
- Pursuit of an active gender equality policy (5 Gender Equality)
- Availability and sustainable management of water (6 Clean Water and Sanitation)
- Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy (7 Affordable and Clean Energy)
- Building resilient infrastructure (9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure)
- Reducing inequality within and between states, especially with regard to migration (10 Reduced Inequalities)
- Measures to promote sustainable consumption and production (12 Responsible Consumption and Production)
- Combating climate change by consistently reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions (13 Climate Action).
Education Strategy 2025
In August 2021, the Ministry of the Home Affairs, Education and Environment released the Education Strategy 2025plus. This strategy is geared to global trends and their impact on education. Society and Liechtenstein’s economy are extremely knowledge- and innovation-based. Global trends such as digitalisation and climate change have therefore been on the radar for some time. One objective of the education system is to ensure educational success for all and to encourage lifelong learning.
In addition to this, Liechtenstein also wants to control development processes in the education system more clearly in the future and promote entry, transfer and re-entry opportunities by providing a variety of educational pathways. The state wants to strengthen research, teaching and continuing education in the core topics of the University of Liechtenstein: “Digitalisation and Innovation”, “Planning and Sustainability” as well as “Responsibility and Society”.
In March 2019, the government issued the “Liechtenstein Digital Agenda” (see 1.1). One main focus is on education: To develop digital skills and raise awareness of responsibility and risks. Platforms are planned under the heading of Family and Equal Opportunities. Finally, in the field of arts and culture, there are plans to promote the creation of digital art and to make analogue works available in digital form. In this context, cultural policy is about creating framework conditions to protect and further develop cultural diversity also in the digital age. This includes the preservation and digitisation of cultural heritage as well as making cultural content widely accessible and establishing international networks.
My Liechtenstein 2039
In 2019, the Principality of Liechtenstein celebrated its 300th anniversary (see 1.2.6). The government launched the project “My Liechtenstein 2039” to invite the people of the country to actively contribute ideas and visions for the future of Liechtenstein. People submitted more than 230 ideas, suggestions and topics, such as on equality, family support, working life, intergenerational dialogue, lifelong learning, smart mobility, sustainability, etc.
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