In late March, the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova addressed the United Nations Security Council. She spoke on the destruction and trafficking of cultural heritage by terrorist groups and in situations of armed conflict.
“The deliberate destruction of heritage is a war crime. It has become a tactic of war to tear apart societies over the long term in a strategy of cultural cleansing.” she said. “Weapons are not enough to defeat violent extremism. Building peace requires culture also; it requires education, prevention, and the transmission of heritage.”
This was the first time a Director-General of UNESCO had addressed the Security Council and as a positive outcome the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2347 for the protection of heritage.
While UN Resolutions often seem to evaporate and disappear into the rarefied air in which they are drafted, the significance of the UNSC officially recognising the importance of heritage and culture as key elements in creating stable and peaceful civil societies can’t be under estimated. We grow as people from our heritage and we are earthed in our individual cultures. Maybe a small, symbolic step by the UN, but an important one…
Other recent small, but also very helpful steps in spreading the message about our collective global heritage are happening much closer to home.
The galleries of the new OUR PLACE WH sites featured below have been selected from images supplied by two of our loyal and talented contributing photographers. With over 1000 sites now spread around the globe, OUR PLACE can never hope to send photographers to them all. We rely on the generous support from the committed photographers who happen to visit many of these places and are happy to share their images with us. They all help spread the World Heritage message.
Geoff Steven CEO,