Tzitzikosta message for the world heritage monuments exhibition
MESSAGE BY THE PRESIDENT
OF THE HELLENIC NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR UNESCO
OPENING OF THE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION
OF THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES
Honorable Ambassadors, distinguished guests
I am deeply honored to greet you, in my capacity of President of the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO, on the occasion of this important photographic exhibition, on the Greek UNESCO World Heritage sites, organized by the Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre for UNESCO in cooperation with the TEI Peiraia.
UNESCO, since its inception in 1945, struggles to promote the expansion of full and equal opportunities for education for all, the protection of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, the reinforcement of sciences and the increase of communication between different nations and peoples, aiming at the mutual understanding and respect of cultural diversity.
Moreover, the organization, strives to strengthen all of the aforementioned fields through technical advice, standard setting, innovative projects, capacity building and networking, welcoming innovation, diffusion of information and best practices, as well as policy dialogue.
Reflecting the natural and cultural wealth that belongs to all of humanity, World Heritage sites and monuments constitute crucial landmarks for our world. They symbolize the consciousness of States and peoples of the significance of these places and reflect their attachment to collective ownership and to the transmission of this heritage to future generations.
The protection of World Heritage monuments, therefore, besides a necessity, should constitute a national duty and a high priority of the international community. UNESCO stands at the forefront of international efforts for the protection of World Cultural Heritage, aiming, through its programmes, not only to inform, but also to alert and activate the international community.
Greece has ratified the Convention for the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1981. Since that date the Greek state, actively participates in the efforts of UNESCO for the safeguarding of monuments and the inclusion of new world heritage sites implementing a variety of actions at national, regional and international level.
Today, UNESCO’s World Heritage List includes a total of 1.007 cultural and natural sites. Greece has inscribed 17 so far, and we continue to work with enthusiasm and effectiveness for the inclusion of additional sites to the World Heritage List of UNESCO, bearing in mind, that there are still a number of Greek monuments of outstanding artistic value, that have not yet been included.
Greece’s World Heritage monuments constitute a remarkable example of the outstanding wealth of the Greek spirit, acting as the spiritual legacy of our ancestors, which has to be safeguarded, not only as Greece’s national treasure, but also as the common heritage of all humanity.
The registration of a monument in UNESCO’s World Heritage List constitutes a complex responsibility. Each country has to protect and follow up the restoration of its inscribed sites, in cooperation with the all the relevant institutions and parties at national, regional and international level. Additionally, member-states that have ratified the Convention have the obligation to submit yearly reports on the
condition of the inscribed monuments, in which they present all the necessary measures taken for their protection.
Policies focusing on the long term protection and preservation of monuments, alongside with allocating all the necessary human and financial resources, lay at the heart of the obligations of each member state. Additionally, in order to prevent any threat endangering the character, identity and sustainability of the inscribed monuments, member states take all the necessary legal, technical and managerial measures. It is obvious from the abovementioned that the inclusion of a monument in UNESCO’s List is only the beginning of a long and difficult journey, which calls for constant alertness and readiness.
Additionally, UNESCO works intensively for the implementation of the 8 Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations. One of these goals is centered on the formulation of strategies for sustainable development. The cooperation between countries for the sustainable management of cultural heritage is of major importance, not only for present, but also for future generations.
At this point I wish to highlight the role of education on the protection of World Cultural Heritage, since it is only through knowledge that our children will embrace our cultural heritage and will deliver it intact to future generations.
In an era, where many are highlighting the elements that separate cultures, UNESCO stands against this confrontational logic and strongly endeavours to promote those elements which unite cultures. Dedicated to its uniting vision UNESCO offers a unique international platform to governmental agencies, international organisations and representatives of civil society facilitating new partnerships and encouraging concrete initiatives in the sphere of cross-cultural and intercultural dialogue. This
constructive dialogue however requires substantial knowledge of the different cultures and their traditions with a view to giving the opportunity to all peoples to co-exist harmoniously, to prosper, to create and to dream.
Concluding, I would like to express my warmest appreciation to the President of the Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre for UNESCO, Ms Titika Stasinopoulou and to her team for the excellent organization and their vision prioritizing Greece’s culture, education and development.