Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement on the occasion of the opening of the Cultural Heritage and Multilateralism conference:
The fire at Notre-Dame in Paris and the explosion in Beirut go to show that we must often act fast in order to protect cultural heritage. Other threats such as climate change have a more insidious, but just as destructive, impact on world heritage sites – one example is the Venice lagoon. Armed conflicts and the illegal trade in cultural objects also destroy places which humanity has admired and derived meaning from for centuries. It is impossible to tackle all of this alone. Cultural heritage cannot be preserved without joint action.
The Federal Foreign Office is hosting the international conference Cultural Heritage and Multilateralism from 16 to 18 November in collaboration with UNESCO, the European Commission and the Council of Europe.
Foreign Minister Maas will open the conference today at around 1.00 p.m. It will provide a forum for experts working in science, politics and culture to discuss strategies for protecting cultural heritage. Attendees include Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, as well as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed.
The joint event is being organised as part of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union and also marks the beginning of its Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on 18 November, as well as the 50th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention against the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
The conference languages will be English and French.