10th Summit of Heads of State of South East Europe - Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
UNESCO had the privilege of co-organizing the 10th Regional Summit of Heads of State of South-East Europe, which was held at the invitation of the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Bakir Izetbegović and the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova.
The Summit took place from 2 to 3 June 2012 in the culturally and symbolically important city of Mostar, where the reconstruction of the Old Bridge in 2004 has become the epitome of the conflict resolution through dialogue, reconciliation and building mutual trust. Heads of State from the region and other country representatives discussed their vision of cultural heritage under the overarching theme: “Religious and Cultural Historical Heritage as a Foundation for more Intensive Cooperation among States”. During the Summit, the importance of UNESCO’s role in the region was highlighted by all speakers as being vital for the pursuit of development and peace among the countries and their peoples.
As each year, the Summit ended with the adoption of a Declaration setting out pathways and areas for future cooperation among the countries in the region and beyond, including with UNESCO and several European institutions. In the Declaration, the leaders of the region committed themselves to « protect cultural heritage as an important foundation for fostering understanding and more intensive cooperation among our countries », to « improve national legislations » in this regard, and to « strengthen regional cooperation…by providing support to joint programmes and projects ».
The Declaration also expressed support for UNESCO’s new global initiative, Culture: A Bridge to Development, and the important regional project « Heritage and Dialogue ».