The two-day International Conference “Documenting the Heritage at Risk” has successfully concluded. The meeting was organized by the “Incontro di Civiltà” Association, chaired by Francesco Rutelli, in collaboration with ICCROM.
On Friday at Palazzo Poli and on Saturday at the Ex-Planetarium of the National Roman Museum at Terme di Diocleziano, scholars and experts in art history, conservation and new technologies gathered from all over Europe, the United States, China and several Arab countries, as well as from UNESCO, ICCROM and major international organizations. Their discussions centered on the need to identify a universal code for cataloguing cultural assets at risk, in addition to adopting immediate commitments to intervene in war scenarios, crisis areas and environmental flash points, in order to safeguard affected heritage and to reconstruct what has been damaged or destroyed based on rigorous scientific criteria.
The participants also unanimously approved the Rome Appeal.
In this regard, Francesco Rutelli commented: “There has been strong Italian leadership, a result of our long commitment from the “Blue Helmets of Culture” to our desire to create a transparent global platform to safeguard heritage at risk. With the adoption of the Rome Appeal, we will move to place Italy on the front lines to rebuild monuments and sites affected in recent years. Our priority, in collaboration with the Italian government and with the support of private foundations starting with the Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo, will be to intervene in safeguarding the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, in Iraq.”
The President of the Council of Italy, Paolo Gentiloni, has confirmed his commitment, and the Vice-Secretary of Foreign Affairs assigned to Iraq, Vincenzo Amendola, spoke at the conclusion of the conference. He commented: “Already from next week there will be an Italian mission in Iraq which will meet with the Iraqi Minister of Culture. The great effort to rebuild and liberate Iraq also must move towards the defense and reconstruction of archaeological and cultural heritage.”
ICCROM’s Director-General, Stefano De Caro, observed: “Projects that enhance valuable archive documentation using new digital technologies combine technical efficiency with the added value of international sharing.”
The Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, speaking during the first day, announced: “In the meeting of culture ministers next Tuesday, Italy will propose the theme of a European task force to intervene for the protection of cultural heritage.”
At the end of the Friday session, a delegation was received at the Quirinale by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and all the speakers were received at Palazzo Chigi by the President of the Council, Paolo Gentiloni. Both confirmed Italy’s commitment to strengthening cultural diplomacy tools and international collaboration in support of the world’s artistic heritage, particularly in war theatres.
At the end of the second day, the participants committed to support the proposals contained in the Rome Appeal. The ten-point resolution will be forwarded to the governments of all Member States of the United Nations, UNESCO, and ICCROM.