ICOMOS and ICCROM undertook a joint mission to Ukraine from 9 to 16 July 2022 in order to provide support to the efforts made by the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, as well as heritage organisations and professionals in the country, in the current conflict situation.
The purpose of the mission was to assess the damage caused to cultural heritage, to identify immediate needs, and to offer technical assistance for the preparation of a systematic and coordinated national strategy for first aid interventions and recovery planning of cultural heritage.
During the official briefing with Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko and Deputy Minister Kateryna Chuieva, ICOMOS and ICCROM discussed ways in which they could offer technical assistance and training for protecting the cultural heritage that faces imminent risk due to the ongoing war. The two organisations also offered their assistance in stabilizing heritage that has been damaged. A representative of the ALIPH Foundation attended this meeting.
The delegation further met with local authorities, non-governmental organisations and academics in the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Lviv, including members of ICOMOS Ukraine and ICCROM alumni. ICOMOS and ICCROM are grateful to the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy and the Heritage Emergency Response Initiative (HERI), which is actively involved in first aid and recovery of the affected heritage in Ukraine, for coordinating the mission and supporting site visits.
Accompanied by Deputy Minister Kateryna Chuieva and Ihor Poshyvailo, Coordinator of HERI and Director General of the National Museum of the Revolution of Dignity, the delegation also visited towns of the Kyiv Region (Hostomel, Borodyanka, Bucha) and villages of the Chernihiv region (Lukashivka and Yahidne). Visits were not limited to major cultural heritage sites – such as Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, which is inscribed on the World Heritage List – but also covered urban and rural areas as well as natural areas, such as the Mykulychi forest in the Kyiv region. In Chernihiv, a fieldwork test was carried out using the cultural heritage damage and risk assessment application developed by ICCROM.
The mission delegation consisted of Teresa Patrício (President of ICOMOS), Zeynep Gül Ünal (Vice President of ICOMOS and its International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness – ICORP, coordinator of the ICOMOS Ukraine Crisis Monitoring and Response Task Team) and Aparna Tandon (Senior Programme Leader, First Aid and Resilience for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis & Sustaining Digital Heritage Programmes, ICCROM).
The ICOMOS-ICCROM delegation presented the findings of their mission at a press conference with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy on 14 July 2022. The video recording is available online. On 15 July 2022, ICOMOS President Teresa Patrício and Deputy Minister Kateryna Chuieva were invited to speak about the mission at the UN Security Council Arria Formula meeting entitled "The Destruction of cultural heritage as a consequence of the Russian aggression against Ukraine," organised by the Permanent Mission of Albania, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Poland and the Permanent Mission of Ukraine. The video recording of this meeting is also available online.
The mission’s findings and discussions will allow ICOMOS and ICCROM to develop coordinated actions for the protection of Ukraine’s cultural heritage in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy.