EYCH 2018 Stakeholders came together in Leipzig for their last meeting

As the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) 2018 gradually coming to a close, the members of the EYCH Stakeholders’ Committee travelled to Leipzig for their last meeting on 8 November. Scheduled to coincide with the Denkmal Fair, Europe’s leading trade fair for historic monument conservation, restoration and old building renovation, this meeting provided an opportunity to also engage with a wider range of stakeholders and to exchange views once again with the national coordinators during a joint session. Europa Nostra was represented by Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović.

On the eve of the meeting, participants were invited to attend the ceremonial opening of the 2018 edition of denkmal fair. The tone was set by the Sharing Heritage Love Tree Ensemble of the German contribution to the EYCH 2018, playing during the opening event on 7 November, which took place in the historic Paulinum-Aula and Universitätskirche in Leipzig. Two years ago, Europa Nostra’s Secretary General had had the honour of giving the keynote speech at the previous edition of the denkmal fair. This time, it was Sir David Chipperfield, Ambassador of the European Year in Germany, who inspired the audience with a speech on the power of cultural heritage.

After this welcome prelude, members of the EYCH Stakeholders’ Committee came together on the next day to discuss the topics that were high on the agenda: what impact did the Year have so far? What has been missing? How can we ensure the follow-up? After an overview by the European Commission on how the 10 European initiatives are being implemented, members shared their views on the impact of the European Year and how to evaluate it. Among the 34 participants were also 16 members of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3: European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP-CEU), CIVILSCAPE, Future for Religious Heritage, European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH), E-FAITH, Interpret Europe, European Historic Houses Association, Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE), Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO), European Association of Archaeologists (EAA), International Council of Museums (ICOM), European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers’ Organisations (E.C.C.O.), Michael Culture, Europeana, European Cultural Tourism Network (ECTN) and Europa Nostra.

For the second part of the meeting, national coordinators for the EYCH joined and were welcomed by Markus Geisenberger, CEO of Leipzig Trade Fair, and Michel Magnier, Director for Culture and Creativity at the European Commission. This was also an occasion to introduce the participants to the future EU Action Plan for Cultural Heritage, currently under preparation by the European Commission.

During an open session, both stakeholders and coordinators pitched key initiatives implemented during the EYCH that will continue beyond 2018. Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović presented the outcomes of 5 years of the 7 Most Endangered programme and recommendations formulated at a conference held two weeks ago in Nicosia, Cyprus. Other initiatives presented included “Tourism and heritage: promoting sustainable cultural tourism” by ECTN (in collaboration with other Alliance members), the “Decade of Action for Landscape in Europe DALE 2018-2027” by CIVILSCAPE and the political internships initiative of NEMO, to name but a few. The Austrian national coordinator presented the programme of the closing conference of the European Year on 6-7 December in Vienna.

After such an array of initiatives, an open discussion about the future working relationship started: how do stakeholders and national coordinators want to continue working together beyond 2018? What would be a suitable governance mechanism? In which format could future exchanges take place?

While this last meeting formally sees the end of the EYCH Stakeholde’s Committee, its participants will continue to meet and exchange informally, not least on the occasion of key events taking place in the last 2 months of the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

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