05.07.2010 - UNESCOPRESS

First meeting of the International Coordination Committee for the protection of Haitian cultural heritage

The International Coordination Committee for the protection of Haitian cultural heritage (ICC) will hold its first meeting at UNESCO Headquarters (Room XII) in Paris on 7 and 8 July.

 Chaired by Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassègue, the Haitian Minister of Culture and Communication, this Committee is a body created by UNESCO to provide support for the Haitian authorities in restoring the country’s cultural heritage, which was seriously damaged by the earthquake on 12 January. The Committee consists of ten Haitian and international cultural experts,* who are working closely with local authorities on measures to improve and reinforce international cooperation to protect Haiti’s cultural heritage.              

The 12 January earthquake severely damaged many of the country’s cultural infrastructures. All the emblematic buildings in Port-au-Prince were affected, including the Cathedral, the National Palace, the Palace of Justice, the Dessalines Barracks, the Alexandre Pétion high school, the churches of La Trinité, Sainte-Anne and Saint-Joseph, the Ministries of Justice and Culture and the Saint-Louis Gonzague School. Other towns that also suffered considerable damage include Jacmel, which is on the indicative list of Haiti for its possible future UNESCO World Heritage inscription, and Léogâne, which is close to the epicentre of the earthquake. Many public and private museums and art galleries were also destroyed, as well as libraries and archives.              

During its first meeting, the Committee will decide on a priority programme to enable the reconstruction of buildings, natural sites and damaged historic urban centres, as well as the restoration of museums, archives and libraries. It will also be necessary to relaunch the creative sector and promote the country’s rich intangible heritage.


* Magali Comeau-Denis (Haiti); Daniel Elie (Haiti); Barbara Prezeau Stephenson (Haiti); Luisa Vicioso Sánchez (Dominican Republic); Ali Radwan (Egypt); Angèle Aguigah (Togo); Richard Kurin (USA);  Maria Cecília London Fonseca (Brazil); Yim Dawnhee (Republic of Korea); Gaël de Guichen (France).  


Journalists are invited to cover the opening session of the meeting (from 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. on 7 July) as well as the session for conclusions and recommendations (from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on 8 July), when Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, will speak (from 12.30 p.m. to 1.00 p.m.).

Accreditation at the Bureau of Public Information is obligatory.

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