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Alexis Mocio-Mathieu - French government initiatives to protect tangible and intangible cultural heritage abroad

Alexis Mocio-Mathieu, Directorate for Culture, Education, Research and Network coordination – Human and Social Sciences, Archaeology and Heritage Unit- French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
French government initiatives to protect tangible and intangible cultural heritage abroad

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Alexis Mocio-Mathieu - French government initiatives to protect tangible and intangible cultural heritage abroad

  1. 1. CReW Cultural Relations at Work - Jean Monnet project Reinforcing cooperation on cultural heritage in the EU Neighborhood South The Royal Society, London (October 22-23, 2018) French government initiatives to protect tangible and intangible cultural heritage abroad Speaker: Alexis Mocio-Mathieu, Directorate for Culture, Education, Research and Network coordination – Human and Social Sciences, Archaeology and Heritage Unit- French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs The origins of French action to protect tangible and intangible heritage traces back decades. Two examples of this long-standing commitment are the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of Historic Site of Angkor (ICC Angkor) and the French archaeological delegation in Afghanistan (DAFA). ICC Angkor. The ICC Angkor is an international initiative based on the partnership between France, Japan, UNESCO, and the Apsara Authority. It is an international coordinating mechanism for the assistance provided by different countries and organisations for the safeguarding and development of the historic site of Angkor. The ICC-Angkor implements procedures to undertake assessments and follow-up of scientific, conservation and development projects for the Angkor site. The ICC-Angkor holds two sessions a year, one at the plenary level and one at the technical level. The Plenary Session of the ICC-Angkor examines general policy matters, determines central priorities and approves new project proposals.. The Technical Session of the ICC-Angkor also meets once a year and is responsible for the follow-up of the different projects, activities and researches carried out by operators intervening at the site of Angkor. In addition, two ad hoc groups of experts (for conservation and sustainable development) are operational. The mandates of these groups are to examine any technical question and to give guidance using recommendations on the implementation of projects. Finally, so-called Quadripartite Meetings are organized periodically between France, Japan, the Royal Government of Cambodia and UNESCO in order to examine technical matters concerned with the functioning of the ICC-Angkor.1 1 Information on Roles and Operations were taken by the author of this report from the ICC Official Website: http://icc-angkor.org/# Figure 1. The ancient site of Angkor. Photo taken from Mr. Mocio-Mathieu's contribution
  2. 2. French archaeological delegation in Afghanistan (DAFA). The French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan (DAFA) was created in 1922, at the request of the Afghan government, to carry out archaeological research in Afghanistan. In 2002, after 20 years of closure by decision of the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan, the DAFA has resumed its activities in Afghanistan with a focus on Franco-Afghan cooperation in the field of archaeological and monumental heritage. It is now part of the network of French Institutes of Research Abroad (UMIFRE) of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. Its mission has been strengthened since the signing of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Afghanistan and France in 2012. The training of the new generation of Afghan archaeologists, as well as the protection, restoration, and highlighting the cultural heritage of the country are priorities for the DAFA; these efforts are reflected on the ground by survey campaigns, planned archaeological excavations or rescue excavations before the intensive plundering of sites. Today, the DAFA works in close collaboration with its local institutional partners, including the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs, the National Institute of Archaeology, the National Museum of Afghanistan, as well as with international institutions such as UNESCO, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), the World Bank, the Deutsche Archäologische Institut (DAI), the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University (ACKU), and the US Department of State. In 2015, the Afghan government called upon DAFA to implement the Afghanistan Archaeological Map. This enormous database of known archaeological sites in Afghanistan will be used to facilitate scientific research and heritage protection. It is also a decision-making tool for governmental bodies on cultural issues as well as on the development and management of Afghan territory2. Actions at international level. Besides more traditional activities, in the last years France has increasingly committed to the global protection of cultural heritage. In this framework, an important step was the International Conference for the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas, which took place in Abu Dhabi on December 2-3, 2016. The Conference was organized by the French government and the United Arab Emirates under the auspices of UNESCO with two main objectives: the creation of an international network of safe havens to “temporarily safeguard cultural property endangered by armed conflicts or terrorism on their own territory…in a neighbouring country, or…in another country, in accordance with international law at the request of the governments concerned”3, and the creation of an international fund for the protection of endangered cultural heritage in armed conflict. The latter was established by France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March 2017, and was named ALIPH (International Alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas). ALIPH is an international fund whose purpose is “to attract…[and] manage…resources for the implementation of preventive and emergency protection programmes for cultural property in danger of destruction, damage or looting on account of armed conflict, and to contribute to [its] rehabilitation”4. Representatives of the donor countries and international governmental organisations, representatives of private donors, and experts in the protection of cultural heritage are part of its board, including UNESCO, which is a non-voting member, has agreed to join its board. Following an initial financial commitment of 30M by the French government, the first Donors’ Conference raised more than USD 76M of a planned USD100M. Aliph is now fully operative: it has an executive director, M. Valéry Freland, and has already started the selection of projects to be funded. So far, two geographic priorities -Iraq and Mali- are set. 2 Information on the DAFA were taken by the author of this report from its official website: http://dafa.fr/index.php/en/ 3 French Republic, Act on Freedom of Creation, Architecture and Cultural Heritage, Art. L111-11. 4 UNESCO , UNESCO’s Participation, Annex, 1.
  3. 3. France has also been quite active in backing and shaping actions at multilateral level in the framework of the United Nations. On the occasion of the establishment of the stabilization mission MINUSMA (the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali), France advocated to include a cultural component in the mandate of the peacekeeping operation (RES2100) and was actively involved in the restoration of the Timbuktu mausoleums. Moreover, France and Italy worked together to shape and back a UN resolution entirely dedicated to the protection of cultural heritage (S/RES/2347, 2017), which formalized for the first time the inclusion of a cultural component in the mandate of peacekeeping operations. At the EU level, France has joined common efforts to combat financing of terrorist organizations and organized crime (G7 2016) and is actively engaged in the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH5,). Efforts at international level have been corroborated by national initiatives, such as a general strengthening of relevant legislation -Act on the Freedom of Creation, Architecture and Heritage, July 2016- and public-private initiatives to train professionals in the field of CH protection from the MENA region, such as a French-Iraqi cooperation in partnership with Louvre and the French National Institute of Cultural Heritage. Finally, it is worth noticing that France has a wide network of French research institutes abroad: 27 research institutes specialized in humanities and social sciences, in order to ensure excellent scientific quality. These institutes are spread across more than 30 countries, representing a unique tool supporting France’s scientific diplomacy Some of them, as the Institut Français du Proche-Orient, are specialized in archaeology and cultural heritage researches. This network is strengthened by French archaeological missions abroad: 159 missions financed in 2018 with a budget of 1.9M Euros6. 5 https://patrimoineeurope2018.culture.gouv.fr 6 https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/scientific-diplomacy/archaeology- humanities-and-social-sciences/ Figure 2. French research institutes abroad. Contribution by the speaker

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