Vice-Minister of Culture Ingrida Veliutė Represented Lithuania in the ICCROM General Assembly

Date

2019 10 31

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On 30–31 October, the 31st General Assembly of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) took place in Rome.

It was attended by the Vice-Minister of Culture Ingrida Veliutė and the head of the Heritage Registry, Public Relations and Education Division at the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture Alfredas Jomantas.

ICCROM’s Programme of Activities and Budget for 2020–2021 has been approved in this General Assembly. The following flagship programmes of ICCROM were singled out in it: First Aid and Resilience for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAR), World Heritage Leadership (WHL), and the Conservation and Management of Archaeological and Architectural Heritage in the Arab Region (ATHAR) Programme. Some of the focus will also be on the regional programmes in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, as well as activities related to sustainability. This programme was prepared in adherence to the Strategic Directions for 2018–2023 set out by ICCROM Council and approved by the 30th General Assembly of ICCROM. The programme is also based on ICCROM’s efforts to draw attention to the goals of the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda until 2030.

Commenting on the programme’s project, the Vice-Minister of Culture Ingrida Veliutė emphasized that one of the goals of the programme, “Zero waste”, will not immediately halt the changes of the climate but will send a very clear message to the public: “It is important to understand that heritage is our living environment and people must use it responsibly. The training programmes prepared by ICCROM are very suitable for this, as they seek to raise the public’s awareness of the relevant issues in the field of environmental protection”. The vice-minister added that one of the principal topics of this General Assembly is the programme for the youth in Africa and stressed that it is critical to prepare and implement a programme which would unite the youth in Africa with the youth from other countries. “We can and must encourage young people to get more involved in the processes of heritage protection, because an active participation of youths in this process is a fundamental part of a balanced and sustainable future”, Veliutė said.

A discussion, “The Decolonisation of Heritage”, also took place during this assembly, in which four keynote speakers shared their thoughts on how communities and other stakeholders can work together to fight historical injustices and the ongoing inequalities, and foster the emergence of the practice of “decolonial” heritage. The previous ICCROM General Assembly, which was organised in 2017, was dedicated to the issues of the restoration of cultural heritage sites destroyed in wars, conflicts and natural disasters.

During the General Assembly, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Norway prepared a joint statement in which they thanked ICCROM for achieving significant results in improving the organisation’s activities but pointed out that the centre could become even more modern by cutting back bureaucracy. One of the 12 new members of ICCROM Council is Sweden, which represents the Nordic-Baltic sub-region.

The 31st General Assembly of ICCROM is included on the list of the international organisations’ committees, commissions, sessions, conferences and workgroups that are considered to be high-priority for the Republic of Lithuania. ICCROM is one of three advisory bodies of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and the leading organisation to have accumulated global experience in the fields of cultural heritage protection and restoration as well as management of world heritage sites. It seeks to improve the quality of cultural heritage preservation and to raise awareness of the importance of cultural heritage protection. The centre’s main areas of activity are training, information, scientific research, cooperation, and representation. Currently ICCROM has 137 Member States. The current Director-General of ICCROM, Dr. Weber Ndor, was elected in 2017. Lithuania joined this international organisation in 1991.

Since 1979, ICCROM has been presenting awards to persons who contribute significantly to the development of this organisation and (or) have special merit in the fields of conservation, protection, and restoration of cultural heritage. In 2011, the award – a bronze sculpture “Conservation” by sculptor Peter Rockwell – was presented to Herb Stovel, who made a major contribution to the improvement of heritage protection in Lithuania after the re-establishment of independence.