07.12.2017 - UNESCO Venice Office

UNESCO supports regional cooperation on culture and development in South-East Europe

© Vijećnica City Hall - cc Mister No

On 14 December 2017, the Committee of Officials of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe – Enhancing Culture for Sustainable Development will gather in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meeting is organized by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the National Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina for UNESCO, with the support of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, with the main purpose of setting the ground for the organisation of the next CoMoCoSEE Ministerial Conference, to be hosted by Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first quarter of 2018.

In 2004, the Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe and Italy gathered in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to participate in the First Ministerial Conference on Cultural Heritage in South-East Europe (SEE). Organized within the framework of the inauguration of the reconstructed Old Bridge of Mostar, the event marked the beginning of a regional cooperation process in the field of culture.

Inspired by the same principles and with the aim of setting up a permanent, autonomous mechanism of consultation at a political and institutional level among the countries of the region, the Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe approved in 2005 the establishment of a council.

Both initiatives, through different means and in cooperation with a number of international partners, have contributed to the achievement of important results. In order to further reinforce the coherence and effectiveness of the regional cooperation processes, the Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe, in 2013, ultimately decided to merge them into a unified cooperation platform, under the common title “Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe – Enhancing Culture for Sustainable Development” (CoMoCoSEE).

The present ministerial platform is the leading initiative for cultural cooperation in the region, with a specific objective of defining coordinated regional policies and corresponding priority action to deal with current and future challenges.

In 2014, in Ohrid (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), ministers and heads of delegation approved the Regional Strategy for Cultural Cooperation in South-East Europe (Ohrid Strategy), and committed to its implementation through reinforced joint action within the framework of CoMoCoSEE. This commitment further confirmed through the adoption of Istanbul (Turkey, 2016) and Tirana (Albania, 2017) declarations of the CoMoCoSEE.

The upcoming meeting of the CoMoCoSEE Committee of Officials in Sarajevo is convened by Bosnia and Herzegovina as current chair of council to discuss at technical level about: the state of the art in regional cultural cooperation, with special focus on the implementation of the “Ohrid Strategy”; the preparation of the next CoMoCoSEE Ministerial Conference; and, among other items, the advancement of CoMoCoSEE effectiveness and common services.

The main theme proposed by Bosnia and Herzegovina, as CoMoCoSEE Chair for the current exercise, is the protection and promotion of museums and collections, their diversity and their role in society. As per established practice of the CoMoCoSEE Committee of Officials, participants will deliver short presentations on the proposed theme during the first session. Presentations may include proposals for regional cooperation initiatives, as well as information on respective policies and measures for the protection and promotion of museums and their role in society.

During the second session, officials will discuss the objectives, agenda and joint declaration for the upcoming CoMoCoSEE Ministerial Conference – encompassing the definition of the tentative dates. The last session will focus on joint action lines, updates and proposals to strengthen regional coordination and communication, according to the “Ohrid Strategy” and the Istanbul and Tirana declarations.

Participants in the meeting will be high representatives of the ministries responsible for culture of the CoMoCoSEE Member States, namely: Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia Greece; Montenegro; Republic of Moldova; Romania; Serbia; Slovenia; The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; and Turkey. Experts will also be invited to participate in representation of CoMoCoSEE Observers, in addition to special guests of the host country.

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