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A Ministerial conference entitled “Rehabilitating Our Common Heritage” is being held in Ljubljana on 6 and 7 November. It brings together Ministers of Culture from South-East Europe with civil society organisations.
The Conference emphasises the social and economic potential of cultural heritage and its vital role for the region of South-East Europe. The participating countries are expected to confirm their commitment to preserving cultural heritage and promoting reconciliation between communities, thereby fostering socio-economic development. They are also expected to undertake to mobilise the necessary national and international resources to finance the rehabilitation of certain architectural and archaeological heritage sites that have been identified on their territory. Finally, the Conference will also help to spread best practices to new countries through the launch of a “Pilot Project on the Rehabilitation of Cultural Heritage in Historic Towns”.
The conference is organized under the Slovenian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe, supported by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia. It emphasises the results of the Ljubljana Process and its ”Integrated Rehabilitation Project Plan and Survey of the Architectural and Archaeological Heritage” (IRPP/SAAH), which is a joint action of the European Commission and the Council of Europe. It encourages partners to assume responsibility for further action even after the project officially ends and enables the transfer of experience and know-how from the member countries of the Ljubljana process (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, FYROM and Kosovo 1 ) to the Kyiv initiative countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova).
The European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Maroš Šefčovič said: ” I’m glad to see the importance that is being attached to cultural heritage for promoting sustainable socio-economic development in Europe. The preservation of our common European heritage strengthens cooperation in the region and facilitates intercultural dialogue, while also helping bring previously alienated communities together again.”
“ Heritage is a part of our cultural DNA. It tells us who we were and who we are today. I welcome the readiness of the participating countries to assume the ownership and carry this important process into the future and into new geographical areas,” said Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
Participants are expected to adopt the Ljubljana declaration confirming the importance of experience gained from activities in South-East Europe, their individual and joint responsibility in preserving and promoting our common European cultural heritage. Representatives of the beneficiaries of the Ljubljana Process are also expected to sign a joint ministerial statement on the next phase of the process beyond 2010.
Representatives of countries participating in the Kyiv Initiative countries are expected to adopt the ” Ministerial statement of the Black Sea beneficiaries and the South Caucasus beneficiaries on a Pilot Project on the Rehabilitation of Cultural Heritage in Historic Towns, inspired by the experience of the Ljubljana process.