In Solidarity with Citizens and Heritage Defenders in Ukraine

Message by Executive President and Secretary General

As an introduction to the Newsletter dispatched on 14 April 2022

Dear Colleagues and Friends

Together with many voices from the democratic world, Europa Nostra has conveyed a strong message of unity, hope and solidarity to the citizens of Ukraine who face immense suffering and hardship as the war continues. In our statement Europa Nostra stands in solidarity with Ukraine, issued on 25 February, we also expressed our readiness to work with our international and European partners, members and other heritage stakeholders in the region and beyond to provide any necessary assistance. Ever since, we have aligned our activities to support our fellow Europeans and cultural heritage defenders in Ukraine.

© Toriru – Shutterstock

 

As stated by the Board of Europa Nostra at its meeting held on 10 March: “The rich and diverse heritage in Ukraine is THE most endangered heritage in the whole of Europe. We therefore need to support heritage defenders in Ukraine”. One month later, Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy sadly announced that they have already registered as many as 166 cultural sites destroyed or damaged as a result of attacks carried out by Russia’s army confirming the alarming state of endangered heritage in Ukraine.

Last month, already on 17 March, Europa Nostra participated in the International Coordination Meeting for Emergency Response for Culture in Ukraine convened by UNESCO. Many institutions and renowned organisations from the heritage world and beyond – including ALIPH, ICOM, ICOMOS, IUCN, ICCROM, Blue Shield International and the European Commission – gathered to discuss how to promptly and collaboratively act to respond to the emergency and critical situation in Ukraine. Subsequently, UNESCO invited our Executive President to join its Emergency Expert Group for Museums set up in support of Ukraine. 

The next day, on 18 March, Europa Nostra and Global Heritage Fund jointly launched a crowdfunding campaign to support the defenders of Ukraine’s endangered heritage as well as those working in the cultural and heritage world who have been rendered refugees in their escape from Russia’s brutal aggression. After four weeks, we jointly raised almost 50.000 Euros. We now call upon every organisation and individual from our wide network to help us double this amount to reach 100.000 Euros. You can donate via the Europa Nostra website – together, we can make a difference!

On 31 March, Europa Nostra, OurWorldHeritage and Global Heritage Fund hosted the webinar “Civil Society in Action for Ukraine’s Endangered Heritage”. The event brought together several representatives of heritage sites and initiatives in Ukraine as well as civil society organisations and institutions and NGOs that are working at international level to support heritage in Ukraine. It also offered a platform to discuss concrete ways of providing short and medium-term support to preserve the heritage and culture of the country, and to further promote the above-mentioned crowdfunding campaign.

Ahead of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport EU Council on 4-5 April, Europa Nostra, the European Cultural Foundation and Culture Action Europe, sent a letter to European leaders as well as the 27 Ministers of Culture of the EU Member States calling on the EU Institutions and Member States to include the emergency needs from the world of art, culture and cultural heritage within the EU humanitarian support to Ukraine, and to explore the feasibility of developing an independent and innovative joint public-philanthropic fund for the cultural sectors in Ukraine. We applauded the commitment for concrete support of culture and cultural heritage in Ukraine which was decided by the EU Ministers and the European Commission.

In the 50th anniversary year of the World Heritage Convention, Europa Nostra also addressed a letter to the members of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, calling the Russian Federation to withdraw as this year’s Chair of this Committee and urging this year’s session of the Committee to be relocated from Kazan to Paris, at the headquarters of UNESCO, or another alternative location.

Last but not least, our New European Bauhaus (NEB) Taskforce, during their first online meeting of 2022, advocated for a peace and dialogue-oriented approach to the NEB. Our #Women4Heritage network, which gathered at a special event on the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8 March, also paid homage to the incredibly brave women and citizens in Ukraine who are safeguarding our shared cultural heritage amidst constant threats caused by Russia’s brutal aggression.

Europa Nostra remains fully committed to continue providing support to Ukraine’s heritage defenders. We are also determined to build as many bridges as possible – across actors, sectors and countries – to increase synergies among ongoing, planned and future responses. We are most grateful to you, our readers, members, partners and supporters, for your vital help in allowing us to stay, even in today’s trying times, as active and as united as ever.

Cordially yours,
Hermann Parzinger, Executive President
Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General

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