Press release – 26 July 2022
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.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a non-governmental, not for profit international organisation, committed to furthering the conservation, protection, use and enhancement of the world’s cultural heritage. With over 11,000 members, 100+ National Committees, 30 International Scientific Committees and several Working Groups, ICOMOS has built a solid philosophical, doctrinal and managerial framework for the sustainable conservation of heritage around the world. As an official advisory body to the World Heritage Committee for the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, ICOMOS evaluates nominations and advises on the state of conservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List. ICOMOS is a founding member of the Blue Shield. Since the start of the war, ICOMOS has assisted UNESCO, cooperated with its partner organisations and mobilized its Committees to provide support to the Ukrainian cultural heritage community. ICOMOS Ukraine, its national committee in Ukraine, is a founding member of the Center to Rescue Ukraine’s Cultural Heritage based in Lviv.
The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) is an intergovernmental organization that builds capacities and promotes knowledge exchange, as well as cooperation for the conservation of all forms of heritage. It leverages the work of heritage conservation to promote sustainable development and build peace as well as resilience. One of the key strategic objectives of ICCROM is to safeguard heritage during conflicts, disasters and complex emergencies. Through its flagship capacity development programme on First Aid and Resilience for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAR), ICCROM offers cross-disciplinary training and self-help, multilingual tools to government representatives, professionals as well as communities to safeguard heritage before, during and after a disaster or a conflict.
Since the war, ICCROM in coordination with other international partners has worked with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine and the Heritage Emergency Response Initiative (HERI) to develop a national coordinated methodology for assessing damage and risks to cultural heritage and supporting its first aid recovery. To this end, ICCROM’s FAR programme has organized an online training, customized a mobile application for collecting damage and risk data in a secure form and offered its training materials and multilingual tools to be translated into Ukrainian. ICCROM plans to further build capacity for safeguarding heritage in Ukraine.