The Director-General meets Russian Minister of Culture
On the occasion of the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee in Saint Petersburg, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova, meets the Minister of Culture, Mr. Vladimir Medinsky about ongoing cooperation between UNESCO and the Russian Federation.
The Director-General thanked warmly the Minister for hosting the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee on the special occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Convention, stating the very special venue of Saint Petersburg, "a unique city permeated by a long history and heritage".
She praised Russia's strong support and commitment to UNESCO thanks to Ms. Eleonora Mitrofanova, former Chair of the Executive Board of UNESCO, in advancing global priorities, especially in the present financial constraints facing the Organization.
The Director-General recalled the importance of the World Heritage Convention as one of the most important and deeply innovative international legal treaties forged to create bonds amongst peoples across the world through the mutual appreciation and preservation of the world's most outstanding cultural heritage, beyond domestic, political or territorial divides.
She stressed the ever greater relevance of heritage protection in times of globalization and social pressures, including fragmentation, as well as urban and environmental challenges.
"The 1972 Convention is an instrument for peace and reconciliation", she added.
She commended the Minister for his efforts to preserve the city of St Petersburg through the establishment of an open-ended group of experts to address the delineation of the boundary of the historic centre of the city, as well as to enhance the legal protection of the property with a view to respecting its outstanding universal value.
The Director-General concluded by encouraging the Russian authorities to upsacale their cooperation with UNESCO, notably by ratifying the Conventions for the diversity of cultural expressions, the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage as well as the underwater cultural heritage.
"Investing in culture provides reassurances and pride to peoples about their own identity, thereby enhancing social cohesion through the appreciation of cultural heritage and expressions. The ratification of these important instruments would give justice to the vitality of the Russian culture" she stated.
The meeting took place in the presence of Ms. Eleonora Mitrofanova, Chair of the World Heritage Committee and Ambassador Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO, Mr. Gennady Gatilov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Gergory Ivlieve, Deputy Minister of Culture, Mr. Grigory Orjonikidze, Secretary General of the Russian National Commission for UNESCO, Ms. Tatiana Soltanovskaya, Head of the Section for relations with international organizations, and Dr. Galina Andreeva, Director of the Cultural Heritage Department at the Ministry of Culture.