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A very special 2021 edition of the European Cultural Heritage Summit is taking place from 21 to 24 September at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in the World Heritage City of Venice. The Venice Summit will offer a platform to celebrate excellence in cultural heritage skills and to discuss Europe’s recovery and its future. The Venice Summit is organised by Europa Nostra – the European Voice of Civil Society Committed to Cultural Heritage – during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, with the support of the European Union, through the Creative Europe and Horizon 2020 programmes, as well as in collaboration with other European and Italian partners. The Summit is held under the patronage of the European Parliament.
The Summit will mobilise – through in-person and online presence – representatives of the wider heritage community from across Europe and beyond, including civil society organisations; local, regional, national and European authorities; international organisations; policy-makers at all levels; young heritage professionals, students as well as heritage volunteers and enthusiasts.
The Venice Summit will coincide with and contribute to two key citizen-driven initiatives launched by the EU institutions, namely the New European Bauhaus, of which Europa Nostra is a proud civil society partner, and the Conference on the Future of Europe. As such, it will be a unique occasion to discuss and demonstrate the role of cultural heritage for ensuring the success of both initiatives. The Venice Summit will also seek to highlight the value of cultural heritage for a sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic recovery of Europe.
The Venice Summit will, among others, draw inspiration from the historic Rome Declaration adopted on 30 July by the G20 Ministers of Culture under the motto “Culture unites the World” and under the Italian Presidency of the G20 (read our statement). It will also send a strong message on cultural heritage as a key resource for climate action both to the pre-COP26 to be held in Milano (1-2 October) and the COP26 conference to be held in Glasgow (November).
Considering the limitations imposed by the current health crisis, the Venice Summit is organised in a hybrid format, bringing together a selected and limited number of stakeholders on-site while giving the opportunity to a wider audience to engage with the event virtually, as the main events are livestreamed via live.europanostra.org.
With the celebration of its 1600th anniversary in 2021, the choice of Venice as the host city of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2021 has an important symbolic value.
The Venice Lagoon, at risk from both natural and human-made reasons, was listed as THE most endangered site in Europe by Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute in 2016. Europa Nostra applauds the recent decision by the Italian government to stop the passage of big cruise ships through the Bacino di San Marco and down the Giudecca Canal. At the same time, together with UNESCO and ICOMOS, Europa Nostra calls for a truly holistic action plan to be implemented at all levels – including European -, and without further delay to ensure the preservation of the integrity and authenticity of the city of Venice and its Lagoon, which is seriously endangered, also from the negative effects of climate change.
But Venice, historically a global hub for cultural production and exchange, and as the host of the Biennale di Venezia, is also at the forefront of heritage-led urban and social innovation. The coincidence with the 2021 Biennale for Architecture, organised under the motto “How will we live together?”, is an excellent occasion to highlight the role of cultural heritage as catalyst for positive change in the framework of the New European Bauhaus, with a special emphasis on the vital but fragile relationship between our built historic environment and the seas.
Europa Nostra is delighted that the Summit is held in the iconic setting of Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, in the headquarters of Fondazione Giorgio Cini, which this year celebrates the 70th anniversary of its outstanding work in the fields of culture, research and education.
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