On 26 November, Dr Stefano De Caro, Director-General of ICCROM, received the Honourable Dario Franceschini, Italy’s minister of cultural heritage and tourism (Ministro dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, or MiBACT). Minister Franceschini’s visit to ICCROM occurs the week after his address to ICCROM’s General Assembly, on the role of Italy and the international community in preserving heritage as a means towards social development and peaceful coexistence between cultures. His address noted ICCROM’s important role in training and heritage protection, particularly in crisis-affected areas.
Minister Franceschini’s visit comes days after Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy, outlined a plan for cultural education to be used in mitigating the security threats faced by Europe in the wake of the latest terror attacks in Paris, Beirut and Tunis. Mr Renzi’s plan includes earmarking €1 billion to pay for cultural programmes, with the goal to fight terrorism by reinforcing young people’s sense of involvement as guardians of Italy’s vast cultural heritage.
Italy’s increasing importance in the sphere of cultural diplomacy has been echoed by UNESCO’s recent adoption of Italian resolutions, including the initiative put forward by Italy to protect cultural heritage in Syria, Iraq and other war-torn regions through proactive heritage protection.
ICCROM, through its Disaster Risk Management programme, trains technical staff, conservators and custodians in prevention and first aid interventions in crisis situations, and is a point of reference regarding educational programmes for heritage and culture. In its capacity as an advisory body to UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, ICCROM is also ideally placed to advise its 134 Member States in the development of cultural policy and on all issues related to the conservation and management of World Heritage properties and other sites. Italy’s long collaboration with ICCROM can be a means for it to monitor these developments closely.
The delegation was composed of Hon Dario Franceschini and Arch Antonia Pasqua Recchia, Secretary-General at MiBACT.
- Protecting Cultural Heritage – An Imperative for Humanity, 1 October 2015
- An urgent and firm response to the destruction of heritage in Syria and Iraq, 26 October 2015
- Italy at ICCROM