NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 30 – As the country with the most UNESCO heritage sites, Italy believes that preservation of cultural heritage and promotion and respect of cultural diversity are key ingredients for reconciliation and peace-building, as well as for sustainable and inclusive human development. No society can flourish without culture, no mutual relation can be established without respect for people’s history”, the Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi told today the UN Security Council on the last day of the Italian rotating presidency.
Cardi chaired a Council briefing on the destruction and trafficking of cultural heritage. Undersecretary General Voronkov, UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay, UNODC Executive Director Yuri Fedotov, INTERPOL Secretary General Stock and an Italian expert on restoring cultural artifacts (Architect Alessandro Bianchi) were the invited briefers.
Voronkov stated that the destruction of cultural heritage is undermining national identity and international law. It is an attack on historical roots and cultural diversity. Since the Council approved Res. 2347 last March, we had signals of change and commitment to the protection of cultural heritage from several countries, but we need to do more, Azoulay said: “We must raise awareness, facilitate data collection, train peacekeepers”.
Since the adoption of the resolution, 29 Member States shared information on new actions taken to protect cultural heritage, strengthening tools and training of specialized personnel, reinforcing international cooperation and information sharing: eight out of 15 Members of this Council were among thes, which demonstrates the importance of protecting cultural heritage as a security imperative, Azoulay added.
UNESCO DG praised the Unite4heritage Task Force launched by the Italian government last year as well as the Carabinieri database of illegally-removed cultural heritage, which is the largest of its kind. “Italy was the first country to establish a specialized unity to protect cultural heritage within the Carabinieri back in 1969: This is a model for the other countries”, said Interpol’s Stock. (@OnuItalia)