Recovery from the COVID-19 global health crisis will be a long and evolving process, but what is clear is that culture cannot be left behind.
“There are no economic issues which we can solve in this world, without the cultural elements,” said ICCROM’s Director-General, Webber Ndoro, during a video interview given with the Italian press agency AgCult.
In expressing his concerns on the impact of the pandemic, especially on human lives worldwide as well as their livelihoods, Ndoro highlights the fact that cultural heritage has not been spared. Due to lockdowns, sites and collections have been closed, but they require care and maintenance.
At the same time, what is becoming increasingly clear is the extent to which culture is a source of wellbeing to people. In fact, the surge in cultural events and virtual tours offered online to entertain and provide comfort to people in isolation is a testament to this.
Moving forward, countries and institutions must come together and make culture and cultural heritage part of the solution for reviving economies, providing social stability and means for human expression, and finding ways to use traditional knowledge to ensure lifestyles are more compatible with our fragile planet. This sentiment is echoed in the “COVID-19: Call of ICCROM for Protecting Heritage” declaration recently drafted by ICCROM and translated into several languages.