Second report on cultural heritage in conflict and crisis published | EEAS

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Second report on cultural heritage in conflict and crisis published

07.08.2023 - Strategic Communications

Cultural heritage plays in important role in peace, democracy and sustainable development. The second annual report on EU actions related to cultural heritage is out now.

Sandbags protect Odessa opera house, Ukraine

© Shutterstock/Vyacheslav Onishchenko
Pictured: Odessa, Ukraine June,1,2022 Odessa State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. Barricades and sandbags.

It acts by fostering tolerance, mutual understanding, reconciliation, inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue, mitigating social tensions and preventing renewed escalation into violent conflict.

At the same time, the EU also recognises that cultural heritage can be used as a trigger for and a target in conflicts and crises and can be subject to disinformation or information manipulation. Follow the link to download the Council Conclusions on EU Approach to Cultural Heritage in conflicts and crises (PDF).

Protection of cultural heritage

Therefore, the EU places a great effort on protection and enhancement of tangible and intangible cultural heritage worldwide within the framework of the Integrated Approach to external conflicts and crises. This is in line with key peace and security priorities and in accordance with EU’s international partnership and development policy.

The present report analyses the work of the EU in the field of Cultural Heritage in its external action, in the period June 2022 - May 2023.

Fight against trafficking

It starts by presenting the EU’s support for the protection of Ukrainian cultural heritage. It then analyses the efforts of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions, looks at the fight against trafficking of cultural property and takes stock of the projects related to cultural heritage in the framework of development cooperation with partner countries.

The report provides a comprehensive overview with an analysis based on data collected from the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission Services, the EU Delegations and the EU CSDP missions.

The commitment of the EU in the area of cultural heritage was reiterated recently in May 2023 by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell, Vice-President Schinas and Commissioner Urpilainen.

In their joint statement on the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, they say:

The EU stands by Ukraine in protecting its cultural heritage and its cultural ecosystem. We will continue our efforts in stopping the illicit trafficking of cultural goods, as reflected in our trade legislation and most recent EU Action Plan. And we will continue to support those, who strive to promote culture and cultural cooperation, even in fragile and difficult environments.

By securing our past, we ensure our future.

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