On 3 and 4 May, Minister of State Maria Böhmer travelled to Eltville, Darmstadt and Augsburg to conduct political talks with UNESCO Ambassadors from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, Turkey and Germany. The talks focused on German and international efforts to protect and preserve cultural property and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The meeting was convened against the backdrop of the upcoming session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, of which Minister of State Böhmer is currently the Chairperson.
Preservation of cultural heritage creates cultural identity
“The German World Heritage sites underline Germany’s commitment to preserve world heritage in the framework of the United Nations,” Böhmer said. The Minister of State added that the preservation of cultural and natural heritage created cultural identity in the regional, national and international context.
Commenting on the recent earthquake in Nepal, Böhmer said that the international community needed to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the people, but also had to help rebuild the cultural monuments and UNESCO World Heritage sites. People mourned their loved ones – but they also mourned the lost of their temples, Böhmer said.
Support for UN Resolution to protect cultural property
In view of the destruction of cultural property in Iraq and Syria, Böhmer called for support for the German‑Iraqi initiative for a UN Resolution to protect cultural property in those countries. The Resolution is due to be adopted before the end of the month. Böhmer stated:
With this Resolution, we are proposing that the international community unanimously condemns the destruction of cultural property, and we are proposing a range of specific protective measures. In doing so, we intend to make clear that no country in the world accepts the religious motivation which ISIS claims justifies the destruction of cultural property.