On 27 June, UNESCO presented the project “Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage” in the Errera House in Brussels. This project is funded by the European Union, Austria and Flanders.
Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, valuable heritage has been damaged or lost. Just think of the devastation in Aleppo or Palmyra. Also in other countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Mali, the deliberate destruction of world heritage is used as a weapon against local communities. With the initiative #United4Heritage, UNESCO wants to raise awareness worldwide in order to prevent, protect and reconstruct of this unique heritage.
Dr Cristina Menegazzi, project leader of Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage, presented the project to identify the damage to Syrian heritage as quickly as possible and, if possible, start the first emergency restorations. Also informing and sensitizing art dealers and museums about stolen art pieces is part of the project.
Koen Verlaeckt, Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and host of the evening, pointed out in his speech the great importance of cultural diplomacy and the protection of endangered tangible and intangible heritage to the Government of Flanders. During the panel discussion, the new UNESCO brochure "Heritage in Danger" on dealing with these cultural disasters was presented.
Safeguarding Syrian Cultural Heritage