The Director-General inaugurates work of the 30th session of the World Heritage Committee in Vilnius, Lithuania

The Director-General inaugurates work of the 30th session of the World Heritage Committee in Vilnius, Lithuania

On 8 July 2006, Mr Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO officially inaugurated the work of the 30th session of the World Heritage Committee; alongside the President of the Republic, Mr Valdas Adamkus; the President of the General Conference and the Chairman of the Executive Board, Misters Musa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan and Zhang Xinsheng; and the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee, Mrs Ina Marčiulionytė, during a ceremony organized at the National Opera.

In a speech made at the opening session on 9 July, the Director-General underlined how much the 1972 Convention constitutes a fundamental instrument for the safeguarding of cultural diversity, estimating that it “will be essential for UNESCO to ensure that the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage work in harmony with the 1972 World Heritage Convention.”

He added: “The future entry into force of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will also require monitoring of the interaction of these three instruments, which now constitute the basis on which our efforts in favour of cultural diversity must rest. The real stake will be to make them mutually supportive, as we cannot grasp the reality of culture except in its entirety.”

Considering that “the Culture Sector will have to ensure, in the future, a coherent and complementary implementation of each one of these legal instruments,” the Director-General specified that he planned “to put in place a reorganization of the Sector, giving each one of these major Conventions a distinct implementation structure that will ensure their complementarity and synergy.”

He concluded by recalling: “The 1972 Convention, an exemplary program of our Organization, has gained an enormous success. Our responsibility to ensure its effective implementation is thus all the more large.” The Secretariat proposed the following specific proposals to streamline the work of the Committee: focus the Committee’s work on its essential functions (reporting on the state of conservation and enriching the World Heritage List according to the Global Strategy), and that of the General Assembly on its primary role, which is to bring forward a vision of World Heritage that is shared by all States Parties. In light of this, the Director-General has suggested that the Assembly of States Parties be held apart from the sessions of the General Conference--as has been recently decided by the Assembly of States Parties to the 2003 Convention--so that States can fully concentrate on questions of general policy.

The Director-General spoke with President Adamkus during an audience at the presidential palace. The reinforcement of co-operation with UNESCO in its fields of competence was at the heart of the discussion. The Director-General was pleased with the active role of Lithuania within UNESCO, and in particular in the field of culture. He thanked the President for his engagement as the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Construction of Knowledge Societies.

Alongside these meetings, the Director-General was able to hold discussions with many luminaries present at the Vilnius meeting, including the Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr Esfandiar Rahim Mashaee, and the Minister for Culture and Tourism of Azerbaïdjan.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash info n°112-2006
  • 10-07-2006
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