This new publication has been prepared for the 4th Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, 19-23 May 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland by Rohit Jigyasu, UNESCO Chair Professor at the Research Center of Disaster Mitigation of Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, and President of ICOMOS-ICORP,with the support of Manas Murthy, Architect and Sustainable Urbanist; Giovanni Boccardi (UNESCO World Heritage Centre); Christopher Marrion and Diane Douglas (ICOMOS-ICORP); Joseph King (ICCROM); Geoff O Brien (Northumbria University) and Glenn Dolcemascolo, Yongkyun Kim and Paola Albrito, Mariana Osihn, from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Northeast Asia & Global Education and Training Institute at Incheon and the Regional Office for Europe. All have provided valuable advice in developing this paper.
Protection of Syria’s Cultural Heritage in Times of Armed Conflict: ICOMOS - ICCROM e-learning course for Syrian cultural heritage professionals
ICOMOS, in cooperation with ICCROM and the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria (DGAM), and in coordination with UNESCO, held an e-learning course for Syrian cultural heritage professionals from 7 to 8 January 2013 at the Damascus National Museum. The course was led by the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness-ICORP.
Since its beginnings in 2011, armed conflict in Syria has reached an unprecedented and dramatic level with huge human loss, hundreds of thousands of refugees, and extensive damage to infrastructure and properties. Cultural heritage in all its forms is continuously suffering from the direct and indirect effects of this on-going conflict. Syria’s World Heritage sites together with numerous cultural properties of national and local significance are at serious risk.
Cultural Heritage Protection in Times of Risk: Challenges and Opportunities
Istanbul Yildiz Technical University- ICOMOS ICORP International Symposium- 15-17 November 2012
In recent years natural and human induced hazards have increasingly turned into disasters of increasing frequency and intensity. These disasters pose threats to prominent cultural and natural heritage sites of the world. The aim of this symposium is to contribute towards reducing slow as well as catastrophic risks in short and long term, by sharing various case studies carried out or planned for mitigating their impacts and developing solutions with the cooperation of professionals working in this area.
Statement by Yildiz Technical University and ICOMOS-ICORP from the International Symposium on Cultural Heritage Protection in Times of Risk: Challenges and Opportunities, 15 - 17 November, 2012 at Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey.
This Statement is made on the 40th Anniversary of the adoption of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention on 16 November, 1972.
Understanding that past civilizations have formed the foundations of today’s societies and that our cultural heritage will continue to shape and inform communities into the future,
Recognizing that cultural heritage is constantly at risk from natural and human-induced disasters, including armed conflict, some of which are not always predictable,
The Istanbul Statement recommends that all risk preparedness, disaster response and recovery strategies should address cultural heritage in parallel with practical humanitarian needs, as disaster recovery is also a wider and longer-term social process.
Specifically the Istanbul Statement recommends that:
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed distress and dismay over the fire that severely damaged the ancient markets in the old city of Aleppo, a World Heritage site, over the weekend. She also reminded all parties of the country’s obligations under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to which Syria is a signatory.
The Director-General’s comments follow a blaze yesterday that reportedly destroyed hundreds of shops in the Aleppo souk, during fierce fighting for control of the city.
“The reports from Aleppo are deeply distressing,” the Director-General said. “The human suffering caused by this situation is already extreme. That the fighting is now destroying cultural heritage that bears witness to the country’s millenary history - valued and admired the world over - makes it even more tragic. “