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Crisis in Iraq 

International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq

First Cultural Forum for Iraq (26-27 May 2004)
Appeal  (English - Arabic) - Motion (English - Arabic)

War in Iraq and its consequences for Cultural Heritage - Editorial by Mounir Bouchenaki, Assistant Director-General for Culture.

Mounir Bouchenaki
All wars, with their turmoil, maiming and killing, wantonly destroy the soul and disfigure the memory of what constitutes a people’s very identity, in other words its culture. In Iraq, as a result of thirteen years of sanctions and the chaos that followed the recent armed conflict, eight thousand years of human history now hang in the balance. Arsonists have burnt libraries and archives, looters have plundered historic buildings and cultural institutions and items of unique value have disappeared from museums and archaeological sites.

UNESCO’s response to these events was prompt. The first task was to ascertain the extent of the damage. To this effect three meetings that brought together internationally acclaimed experts on the cultural heritage of Iraq were organized on 17 April 2003 in Paris, 29 April 2003 in London, and 1 August 2003 in Tokyo. Based on the findings of the above meetings and missions, projects were formulated. Several of these projects are currently being implemented and contacts with potential donors for the other projects are in progress.


News Director-General announces new initiatives in culture and education during first visit to Iraq


iraqThumb.jpg Iraqi intellectuals meeting at UNESCO outline a new cultural policy for Iraq
28 May 2004 - Respect for cultural diversity, promotion of creativity and participation of all in cultural life, and the safeguarding of cultural heritage form the three pillars of an Appeal adopted yesterday by participants at the First Cultural Forum for Iraq, organized by UNESCO on May 26 and 27 at Headquarters. 
iraqThumb.jpg “Democracy and culture are indissociable: without culture, there can be no democracy”, says the Iraqi Minister of Culture
10 Oct 2003 - On Thursday 9 October, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, met the Iraqi Minister of Culture, Mr Mufid al-Jazairi, who has come to Paris to take part in the 32nd session of the UNESCO General Conference. 
iraqThumb.jpg Director-General's Meeting with the Iraqi Minister of Education
08 Oct 2003 - In the area of culture, the efforts already engaged in by the Organization will be continued and UNESCO will contribute to efforts aimed at raising the awareness of donors in respect of emergency actions, the identification of which have been the result of UNESCO’s missions on the ground. 
bar.jpg 4th meeting of UNESCO's Task Force on Iraq
25 Sep 2003 - The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, brought together on 11 September 2003 for the fourth time UNESCO’s Intersectoral Task Force on Iraq. 
International Experts Meeting In Tokyo Recommend Greater Security For Iraq’s National Museum and Heritage
19 Aug 2003 - Some 30 experts who met in Tokyo on August 1 and 2 issued recommendations aiming at coordinating international efforts to safeguard Iraq’s cultural heritage. 
UNESCO to send new mission to Iraq to check cultural heritage after looting
30 Jul 2003 - Following up on reports of looting in Iraqi museums and archaeological sites, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today that it was sending a second expert team to Baghdad tomorrow to take stock of the situation regarding the country's heritage. 
Patrimoine culturel iraquien : Première réunion de coordination de l’aide internationale
16 Jul 2003 - Le Directeur général de l’UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, a ouvert le 16 juillet la première réunion de coordination de l’aide internationale en faveur du patrimoine culturel iraquien, en présence de M. Muayyad Said Al Damarji, conseiller de l’Ambassadeur Piero Cordone désigné administrateur civil pour le patrimoine par les autorités américaines. 
UNESCO to send new mission to Iraq to check cultural heritage after looting
29 Jun 2003 - . 
UNESCO and INTERPOL reinforce cooperation in fight against traffic in Iraqi cultural goods
10 Jun 2003 - UNESCO and the International Criminal Police Organization reinforced their cooperation in the fight against the illicit traffic in Iraqi cultural properties by signing an amendment to their Cooperation Agreement of 1999. 
U.N. cultural agency sounds archaeological alarm over plunder of sites in Iraq
19 May 2003 - . 

 Other Events 

  International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
15 Sep 2003 - 15 Oct 2003  The Executive Board of UNESCO approved at its 167th session (decision 9.2) the establishment of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq. 

  Euro-Nippon musicians' evening UNESCO Headquarters, Room I
13 Nov 2003 - 13 Nov 2003  

  Implementation of the World Heritage Convention Amman
04 Sep 2004 - 11 Sep 2004  Workshop for Iraqi specialists 

  Colloqium "Babylone and the Bible" UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
21 Sep 2004 - 21 Sep 2004  On 21 September 2004 UNESCO Headquarter hosted a colloquium on « Babylone and the Bible » organized by the periodical "Le Monde de la Bible". 

  Towards Rehabilitation of Libraries and Archives in Iraq UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
05 Oct 2004 - 18 Oct 2004  Director-General of the National Library and Archives of Iraq and Director-General of the National Center for Manuscripts visit UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. 

  Visit of the Minister of Higher Education of Iraq UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
11 Oct 2004 - 13 Oct 2004  The Minister of Higher Education visited UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 11-13 October 2004. 

  ICC Sub-Committee for Libraries and Archives UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
03 May 2005 - 04 May 2005  Establishment and first meeting. 


  Mr Laurent Levi-Strauss
  • Deputy Director for the Division of Cultural Heritage
  • Chief of Section for Tangible Heritage

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